So, I am leaving for three weeks on holiday! Is it OK for me to bring my work-phone with me?

Bringing the company's phone with you on holiday should be perfectly fine. Photo by Steven Wei on Unsplash

The short answer is; Yes!

The longer answer is —and specially if you work at a nuclear plant; Well, it depends

Meet BYOD — Bring Your Own Device

BYOD, Bring Your Own Device, is the sibling of many similar abbreviations, like BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone), and even BYOPC (Bring Your Own Personal Computer).

I am sure we will soon have more of these, like BYOC (Bring Your Own Car), BYOF (Bring Your Own Food [for lunch]) and what not.

But wait, I am not bringing my own device. I am bringing the company's device!

Sure, hang on for a few more minutes. We'll get there.

Business equipment and responsibility

Most companies these days gives the employees pretty hi'end tech-stuff when needed; new fancy phones, cool laptops and such.

And with this comes a new question; Who on earth wants to walk around with two phones in their already-filled-up pockets; one for private use and one for business? None, or at least very few.

So, with the employees using one device for both business and private comes quite a few challenges to conquer;

  • Who is the ultimate owner of the content on the device?
  • Who is to blame should the device be stolen when on holiday?
  • And then, the ultimate issue; Who to put in jail for lifetime should the device be stolen or hacked on holiday, and further abused to hack into the company's internal systems, and yet further to trigger a full meltdown of the nuclear power plant you worked at? (yea, surely I am currently watching Chernobyl on HBO)

Introducing a brand new term to your never-ending vocabulary; BTCD

I am hereby introducing a brand new term; BTCD. Bring The Company’s Device.

BTCD, Bring The Company’s Device, simply means the opposite of BYOD, using the business-phone or laptop together to do personal stuff, and even bringing it with you to remote locations when on holiday.

For the company to allow you to bring their device anywhere you want, you can be held partly accountable if it falls into the wrong hands, so be sure to guard it as you were walking around with a bag full of money from the company (yep, the phone or laptop is most likely worth much more than its direct cost if it falls into the wrong hands).

One thing is the amount of time needed from both you and your colleagues for the rescue mission after finding the device stolen or lost. Worse is the harm it might cause if it falls into the wrong hands. Even though Julian Assange is locked in somewhere, Wikileaks is always lusking around in the bushes, trying to pick up the next big thing to publish to the world.

Think twice before leaving your phone on the restaurant table in a random city in a random country.

Alrighty, so what is the longer answer to me eventually bringing the company's device to Costa del Sol, then?

First of all, let's be clear; Very very very few people on this planet have hard feelings. If you happen to loose your device, there is a very good chance the person who finds it wanna do its best to help getting it back to the ultimate owner (you), so be sure to write your name, phone number and email somewhere physically on the device. And, make sure the writing can withstand a few drops of water.

Second; Should the device be stolen, keep in mind most thieves on this planet are not evil villains as taken from a James Bond movie. And so, they will most likely not sell your device on the evil villains marketplace of doom. Most likely they will simply try to Factory Reset the device and sell it to a random teenager with a tight budget.

Most large corporations (e.g with +250 employees) have pretty clear (and often strict) rules around this, so if you are lucky (or unlucky) to work at such a place, simply follow their rules of engagement when it comes to BTCD and private use.

Also, if the organization is using cloud-based solutions like Google Apps (GSuite), such services have built-in pretty rock-solid security, making it even harder to access the device should it be lost or stolen.

For smaller organizations without written routines for every single move you can possibly make, the ultimate answer is “It's fine — just be sure to add all the common sense you have when using the company device for private use”.

This includes, but is definitely not limited to:

  • Be sure not to download or install illegal content of any kind (who would do that anyway)
  • Don't let others use the phone (or laptop) without you overseeing them (who would do that anyway). This includes your kids, which have magic fingers in terms of messing up a phone's content
  • Be sure to have enabled a secure way to use the device, e.g fingerprint (yes, most phones these days support fingerprint access) or a solid yet easy for you to type in code (who wouldn't do that anyway)
  • Be sure to enable tracking of the phone should it be lost or stolen. Both iOS (Apple) and Android have built-in “find-my-device” software which should be super-easy to enable (if it isn't already enabled) and also to use should the worst happen (be sure to enable and test this today)

But, what if the device actually gets stolen or lost?

I mean, if the nightmare of loosing your phone has actually happened.

After you have recovered from the extreme shock of loosing your phone, follow these simple steps:

  • Change the passwords! Hopefully you are using modern cloud-based software like Gmail or Office 365. Then simply log in from a browser and change the password first-thing-first, both for your business mail and private mail
  • Report the crisis to the IT-department. Also be sure to report it to the IT-department should such a department exist. They can then block any further access to your account
  • Try finding it! Try to find / recover the device using your favorite “find-my-device”-software
  • Report it to the local police. This step is important in terms of insurance. Most insurance-companies refuse to pay out any money unless the theft has been reported to the police

I am the IT-manager in our company. Any tips for me in particular?

Sure. Simply read this article from Google on their recommendations, specially if you are using GSuite.

Father, nerd, entrepreneur, writer, investor and what not.

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