Lawyer client confidentiality is a sacred bond. Although most people think lawyers are only concerned with money....there are several noble causes that concern them more. One of those is the expectation of privacy. Perhaps that's why so many lawyers across the country are not jumping on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) bandwagon and sharpening their skills to go after all the organizations that are. The concept of using one's own wireless device(s) for business purposes is believed to amount to huge savings for organizations who, until now, have supplied this technological equipment to their employees. But when it comes to the to the BYOD model being touted by many efficiency experts, lawyers continue to openly express concerns on behalf of all professionals who, like themselves, must comply with mandated confidentiality regulations.
Here is how the model works: an employee who would normally have been given a company sponsored cell phone for professional use, would receive a monthly stipend and utilize his/her own personal wireless device instead. Though conceptually, this seems like an outstanding money-saving opportunity, it has proven to result in fines, lawsuits, and sanctions far exceeding any savings an entity might hope to accrue.
The BYOD paradigm presents a multitude of problems on several levels. Presently, most organization have neither the hardware substructure, nor encryption software to secure the endless flow of information streaming through assorted operating systems over various networks and technological devices. Ideally, to address these issues, encryption software must be installed. Implementing a Mobile Device Management System (MDMS), however, is an expensive integration process, not to mention the additional fees that will ensue whenever monitoring and/or updates are required. To maximize capability, most MDMS programs must grant comprehensive authority to institutions, thereby allowing certified corporate personnel to monitor, wipe, lock and track devices in real time. Such unlimited clearance creates another problem that must be taken into consideration. Will employees consider this kind of control as interference with their rights or an infringement of their privacy?
Corporate leadership must be prepared to categorically KNOW (not assume) that every employee will remain extremely vigilant regarding where, when and how the device is to be used. Certain websites will be restricted to ensure that no inappropriate activity can be associated or linked back to the organization. According to Time Magazine.com the most restricted sites in the United States are
1. Facebook: 19.4 percent of employers block
2. Twitter: 15.1 percent
3. YouTube: 13.7 percent
4. Pinterest: 11.2 percent
5. Other social media: 10.9 percent
6. LinkedIn: 9.7 percent
7. Webmail (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.): 9.3 percent
8. Other sites: 4.6 percent
Of course, employees will have to agree to these restrictions. However, recent data indicates that such limitations have met with obstinate resistance among specific age groups, particularly millennials, who presently comprise the largest demographic of the employed. Will employees actually believe that opening a seemingly benign e-mail may release an insidious virus capable of shutting-down an entire system? On the other, their objections may subside as soon as they discover the numerous websites providing detailed instructions on how to access restricted sights in the workplace.
Unfortunately, despite all these forewarnings, the unsubstantiated promise of savings and security has blinded decision-makers into believing the BYOD model is the way to go. The choices associated with mitigating security breaches pertaining to the BYOD model are relatively new, costly and still somewhat imperfect. In addition, the solutions most MDMS provide may be deemed invasive if not arguably illegal.
There are other solutions, the most effective of which is the wireless cost management model. Institutions would continue to supply wireless devices to employees but participate in a one-time submission of bills for audit. By leveraging innovative cost analysis methodologies, unpublished wireless pricing information and extensive industry experience, these consulting services have been proven to save companies as much as 30% in wireless fees. Several large companies have already seen nearly one million dollars per year in savings and mid-sized organizations continue to save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Carriers and numbers need not change and no intrusive practices are involved Perhaps the best feature of some of these wireless cost management companies is their contingency pricing model. You only pay if savings are achieved.
While there are those who applaud the cloud and the Internet of Things, we must remember that little by little we are forsaking our own privacy and the privacy of others for the possibility of saving a few dollars. Before moving to the BYOD model, consider all the risks. Just remember, new technology modalities always produce a new breed of hackers and the more devices involved the more hacking risks are possible.
Edward DuCoin, CEO ORPICAL Group
Ed DuCoin is the CEO of ORPICAL Group, known for his success in growing a small company into a thriving organization that was listed as one of the 500 Fastest Growing Companies for three consecutive years by INC. Magazine.