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By B. Kevin Folsom, CEP
Published in the March 2013 issue of Today’s Facility Manager
Q I work for an organization that has recently adopted a policy prohibiting the use of personal electronic devices (smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) inside the facility. Increased security is at the core of the new policy regarding bring your own device (BYOD) issues, with the primary goal of preventing the recording and transmission of information.
Lockers outside the facility have been installed so employees can safely deposit their devices before entering the building, but there are inevitably problems with lost keys, devices left on (and ringing while stowed), and visitors who are reluctant to surrender their devices. Security guards are currently being tapped to manage this responsibility, which ultimately falls under both the facilities and security departments.
Do you have advice regarding the best strategy for this situation? We anticipate greater pushback as younger people (who are perpetually tethered to their devices) enter the workforce, and we will certainly consider policy evolution, but for now we are doing our best to restrict all devices. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Name withheld upon request
A While I cannot speak to the validity or rationale of the policy, I can attempt to share how I would approach this matter from a facility manager perspective. Thanks for the opportunity to use my imagination. I’m hopeful that we’ll get comments for this topic in the online version of this article to share more ideas and thoughts. This is one that I have not yet encountered!
One approach on the physical side would be to provide a proven method to prevent the devices from passing through “the door.” I’m assuming you would have to set up something similar to what is used in a courthouse to screen everyone coming into the facility with metal detectors. This approach calls for having dedicated staff to man the area(s). This one seems more practical to think through.
On the softer side would be to somehow provide device owners access to their personal communication without their devices. Today, a lot of communication takes place online so it seems this could be provided through the company computers; on the other hand, I know some companies have policies against this.
There are online programs where voicemail, e-mail, and phone calls can be forwarded. For employees this service might need to be provided; however, to set this up for a guest each time could be quite laborious. Following is a possible solution for this: www.onebox.com.
I’ll also call upon our readership to share their suggestions and experiences with BYOD policies in the comments section of the online version of this month’s column at www.FacilityExecutive.com.