Despite standards that are beginning to emerge, such as the UK ICO’s recent guidance for BYOD policies, issues surrounding employees’ use of personal devices for corporate work remain a fairly sticky wicket. At the IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive in London, a panel discussion and presentation, “BYOD: What’s All the Fuss,” sought to provide a bit of clarity through personal experiences at the likes of Vodafone, the BBC and global medical research firm Beckman Coulter.

Much of the advice delivered could be summed up thusly by Paula Barrett, a partner at Eversheds LLP and host of the discussion: “Don’t assume that executives just happen to know to do basic things.”

Sure, there is available technology—like those “sandbox” tools that put an envelope around corporate data, think Citrix, even on mobile devices—that can help with corporate BYOD policies, but much of an effective policy is going to depend on training employees to use their devices appropriately and actually instill in them a desire to follow the polices they’ve been trained on.

“Focus on actual practical guidance,” Barrrett said, “not legalistic stuff. What data should they be downloading, what apps, what are the dangers?”

Privacy pros talk BYOD in London.

And you’d better do it now. Your employees are already bringing corporate data onto their personal devices, whether you like it or not, so outlining a policy as soon as possible is vital to protect corporate interests. A recent Cisco study can let you know if you’re in line with other corporations in terms of what devices you supply and what you allow on things like personal phones, laptops and tablets, but what you allow and what’s actually happening are two different things.

Why? Well, said James Leaton Gray, head of information policy and compliance at the BBC, “Journalists, like magpies, are attracted to shiny things. A number of people could be seen wandering around after Christmas like Gollum, like ‘oooh, my precious,’ and executives are not excluded from this.” Has anyone else had the experience, Gray wondered, where an executive gets herself a shiny new tablet and, presto, the BYOD rules change to allow it?

“The reality is,” Gray reasoned, “that there’s been a massive price drop for technology, that meant that suddenly people were able to buy themselves something far more up to date than anything on the corporate catalog.”

For Kasey Chappelle, CIPP/US, global privacy counsel for Vodafone Group Services Limited, the problem was even more pronounced: “When you work for a telecom, you can’t very well tell them they can’t use the toys that we sell,” she said. “We are our own company’s best ambassadors. And people find workarounds anyway. Even if we didn’t allow a connect to the network, they would hack in; they’ll have neat jerry-rigged things.”

Of course, when Chappelle went to the IT team to try to put a BYOD policy in place, she heard, “We already have a policy. It doesn’t happen…Meanwhile, the privacy and litigation lawyers were finding ways to paper over the problem, with policies and procedures to protect ourselves from risks. But really, the solutions are primarily technological in nature.”

Chappelle highly recommended a mobile device management vendor. “No matter what program you use, if you’re not using a mobile device management system, you’re doing it wrong,” she said. “Those MDM systems forestall a lot of the privacy and security issues that could be raised.”

At Vodafone, they’ve developed a solution that will soon be available that allows for a dual persona on personal devices. “It allows you to switch over from business persona to personal persona and you have to log in to one or the other,” Chappelle sad. “And it has other neat features. It gives an employee a dashboard for managing information on the device, and has lots of self-help functions. I’ve played with it a bit and it makes it really simple and seamless.”

Don’t have something like that on board yet? No worries. A big firm like Beckman Coulter doesn’t either. “We’ve not got any technology like that,” said Hazel Polka, assistant general counsel, EMEAI, at Beckman, “because we have not officially implemented our policy in Europe. We don’t’ have much experience with what will happen, but we’ve got a lot of concern expressed by those who know this is waiting in the wings, both from corporate and employees.”

Don’t be surprised when you run into regional issues, Polka warned a crowd that nodded its collective head vigorously. “It was very much that IT wrote this policy and then figured they should probably run it past legal,” she said of her experience, “and then they ran it past the folks in the U.S., and then they forwarded it to me, and I took one look and said, ‘I think it might be more complicated than that, actually.’ That was six months ago, and let’s just say the policy hasn’t been yet implemented in Europe.”

Communication with local works councils is vital, she said, and, “I’ve needed to seek out the engagement of HR and others to cover some of the gaps.”

Perhaps that’s the other overarching theme each of the panelists agreed with, alongside vigorous and easy-to-understand training: Rally your stakeholders. The privacy team is likely uniquely positioned in the company to outline the complexities of BYOD—just try sorting through the tax implications of issuing a stipend for personal devices on a global basis—and evaluate the risks. Getting disparate entities like IT, HR and investor relations all on board form the start is vital to crafting an effective BYOD policy.

Well, that and being able to effectively explain why the company has the right to completely wipe the contents of someone’s personal phone should it be lost…

Written By

Sam Pfeifle


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Advertise in IAPP Publications

Find out how to get your message in front the people you want to reach. Download a media kit now.

Get more News »

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Network and talk privacy at IAPP KnowledgeNet meetings, taking place worldwide.

Women Leading Privacy

Events, volunteer opportunities and more designed to help you give and get career support and expand your network.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

New Web Conferences Added!

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Staff

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Close-up

Looking for tools and info on a hot topic? Our close-up pages organize it for you in one easy-to-find place.

Where's Your DPA?

Our interactive DPA locator helps you find data protection authorities and summary of law by country.

IAPP Westin Research Center

See the latest original research from the IAPP Westin fellows.

Looking for Certification Study Resources?

Find out what you need to prepare for your exams

More Resources »

GDPR Comprehensive: Registration Open

New! Intensive two-day GDPR training led by the sharpest minds in the field. It's a can't-miss event.

The Congress Is Cancelled

The IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress 2015 is cancelled. Click through to learn more.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

Exhibit at an Event

Put your brand in front of the largest gatherings of privacy pros in the world. Learn more.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»