Friday, February 15, 2013

Creating a Mobile Device Policy

We have discussed both cell phones in the workplace and mobile devices’ role in the healthcare industry. Today we will look at having a policy in place for companies that use mobile phones for work purposes.

A survey in 2011 showed firms that use mobile technology earn $10.8 million annually, while their peers who are not as mobile savvy are earning $5.7 million. That enormous difference is a clear indicator that more and more companies will get on board and start using mobile devices for work. An important step to take before allowing employees to use their smart phones for work, or supplying them with company phones, is to create a Mobile Device Policy. These policies outline the employer’s position on how employees may use mobile devices for work, device protection, and any compensation or allowances.

The following main points are what should be included in your mobile device policy:

What platforms are supported? Some companies choose to use one platform, such as Blackberry or I-Phone. This is often indicated by the proprietary software that a company uses. Other companies may choose a particular carrier and allow employees to choose their own style of phone.

What protective measures will be employed? What will the company require to protect information on the phone? The use of passwords, encryption, and mobile locking or wiping in case of theft must be determined. It should also lay out instructions for employee actions in case of loss or theft.

What type of compensation is appropriate?  If the company provides phones, will they pay the entire package? If employees are allowed to purchase their own devices, what type of monetary support will the company offer? Often monthly stipends, expense reimbursement, or yearly rebates are used to subsidize employee costs.

What will data storage limitations be? How much data, if any, can be stored on a device? Will there be a specific way that the data must be removed, such as a phone being wiped before the employee leaves company grounds daily, or data being moved to a secure storage regularly.

Is personal use permitted? The company must determine if employees may use their phones for things that are not work-related. Also, will downloading apps be permitted? Keep in mind if the company is only providing a stipend towards the employee’s phone it will be difficult to enforce very strict rules.

How will the policy be enforced? What will the company do to police the use of the phones? What will the employee be agreeing to by using a work related mobile device? Be very clear on when or how management may monitor the actual phone and its usage.

Cross reference other policies already in place. Make sure that all company policies concerning mobile devices reference the existing confidentiality, discrimination, harassment and non-disclosure policies currently being used.

Using mobile devices in the workplace can boost productivity and increase an employee’s ability to do their job no matter where they are. It is important for the company to act responsibly when setting policy.  It should be discussed with an attorney to ensure that the scope and coverage of the policy is appropriate. Also, it is imperative that thorough training and review of the policy is conducted with all employees.

Crenshaw, Darryl. (November 16, 2012). Five Steps to Creating an Effective Mobile Device Policy. iOS @ Work. (Retrieved February7, 2013).

Ribitzky, Romy. (July 12, 2011). The Mobile Way to Biz. Upstart Business Journal. (Retrieved February 7, 2013).

Souppaya, Murugiah and Karen Scarfone.(July 2012).Guidelines for Managing and Securing Mobile Devices in the Enterprise. National Institute of Standards and Technology. (Retrieved February7, 2013).


  1. This was an issue for me when I was given an office phone on my last job. My current plan at the time was the same as what the office was providing, and I did not want to let go of my old plan because I have been subscribed to it for quite a while and did not want to lose the perks and loyalty rewards that they offer. Sadly, the company was not amenable to just compensating my original plan’s monthly cost. I ended up with two phones, although I still preferred giving my personal number, except for the company’s clients. The experience was, to say the least, awkward and wasteful. XD

    Doug Leven

  2. Communication is a vital thing to consider in your office setup. There are times when even the administrators can't reach the employees when they badly need to. In this case, the employee communication must be consolidated and inter-connected so that it will be easy for them to communicate about office matters. This will allow them to easily send important information via calls.

  3. The use of mobile phones makes it easier to transact data anywhere you are. Some companies are allowing their employees to download a specific application where they can interact immediately for urgently needed information. Well, I love the fact that you've given specific question which they have to answer. Both the employee and the management should come to an agreement regarding their data management, especially limitations of use. :)

    Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management


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