The Year in Review: Looking Back at BYOD Innovations and Legislation in 2015
2015 was a big year for the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement. While BYOD can be difficult to navigate for businesses and employees alike, technology innovations and new legislation are helping to make the path clearer.
BYOD Legislation in 2015
Here are three things we learned from legislation passed in 2015.
1. Companies Must Reimburse Employees for Business Use of Personal Devices
One of the biggest legal decisions affecting BYOD centered around the issue of reimbursement. Most organizations don’t currently reimburse employees for using their personal devices for work. In fact, Computerworld reported that a Forrester study found 54 percent of employees pay for the mobile data they use for work purposes.
This is likely to change following the ruling in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, wherein the California Appellate Court reaffirmed employer obligations to reimburse employees for work-related mobile usage on personal devices.
2. Companies Should Clearly Inform Employees of BYOD Policies
Some organizations have BYOD policies that allow them to wipe a device remotely if it is lost or the employee leaves the company. While the courts haven’t punished companies for this practice yet, employers should make sure their employees are well informed of BYOD policies like these.
In Rajaee v. Design Tech Homes, a sales rep sued his former employer when it remotely wiped his iPhone of all personal and work-related data and returned it to factory settings after he resigned. This ex-employee sued the company for illegally accessing his device and causing more than $5,000 in damage to electronically stored information. Ultimately, the court found in favor of Design Tech Homes, stating that information on a cellphone does not constitute electronic storage under the law. Therefore, the loss of the sales rep’s personal photos, videos, contacts and passwords was not a CFAA-qualified loss.
3. Companies Must Compensate Employees for Overtime Work Done on Personal Devices
When nonexempt employees use their personal devices to conduct work, they may rack up overtime hours for which they aren’t being compensated. As employees become more savvy to tech rules, some are suing their employers for this overtime compensation. And, in cases like Mohammadi v. Nwabuisi, courts are beginning to find in favor of those workers.
In order to avoid being sued for overtime compensation, employers have two options: They can only allow exempt employees to use their personal devices for work, or they can set up stricter time reporting systems or policies so that time spent working on personal devices is accurately compensated.
BYOD Innovations in 2015
The changing legislation reflects some of the major advancements made in the BYOD sphere this year. Three of the top trends include:
1. Technology Is Helping Employees Separate Work and Personal Data
Many innovations in BYOD centered around helping organizations separate their employees’ work and personal data. For example, Good Technology released Good Work with Data, a system that allows users to split up corporate email, calendar and contacts from personal information.
Similar innovations include:
- The AT&T Work Platform is a suite of services that organizations can use to supply separate AT&T voice, messaging and data services to authorized users, all while keeping personal and company bills for those services separate.
- Android for Work allows employees to separate business apps from personal apps on their personal devices. It also enables employees to set up a dedicated work profile to keep business content separate from personal data so IT can’t access or erase an employee’s photos, emails or other personal data.
- Google Play for Work allows each enterprise to choose which apps are white-listed for their users and to purchase apps in bulk.
2. Enterprise Apps Improve With Better Code Practices
Enterprise apps made a huge leap forward this year with the improvement of low-code platforms. According to Solutions Review, “The ease with which these enterprise apps are … able to be developed allows ample room for multiple apps and apps that work [across platforms] without losing any features on the way.”
3. The Rise of Virtual Mobile Infrastructure
Last but not least, in 2015 we saw the rise of virtual mobile infrastructure (VMI), which, according to TechTarget, “allows a company to develop or acquire only one version of an application and deliver that app to all employees regardless of their device’s mobile platform.” That makes things easier for any security or IT department since employees are more likely to comply with corporate policies. Mobile virtualization services often use the cloud to deploy smoothly across all devices.
BYOD had a big year for itself in 2015, and it shows no signs of slowing down.