Having employees use personal cell phones for work may have seemed like a great idea at first, or maybe it wasn’t even your decision — when the pandemic hit, some employees naturally became more reliant on their own technology when working from home.
When employees work from home, it leaves businesses at increased risk for cyber attacks — 67% of recent cyber attacks that impacted businesses targeted remote employees.
Even if your employees work in the office, problems that stem from using cell phones for work can still arise. Using personal cell phones for work can slow down the workday while ramping up the risk of cyber attacks. While there are some pros to employees using personal cell phones for work, there are a lot of cons that can outweigh the benefits.
DATA THEFT AND CYBER ATTACKS
You likely bring your cell phone everywhere — to the store, to restaurants, to the airport. Your employees do the same thing. When your employees are out and about and fire off a quick work-related email or use their cell phone for personal use, they’re doing so from an unsecured, public network. That means any company data that’s stored on your employees’ phones is vulnerable. Cyber attackers frequently steal data via free, public WiFi.
Even if applications that your employees use for business are secure, some of the applications your employees use in their free time may not have well-developed security requirements. If an account an employee uses for personal use is hacked, it can still lead to confidential work information being leaked since the hacker has gained access to the phone.
If data that your company has — like confidential data on consumers — is leaked via an employee’s personal phone, your company could face a seriously damaged reputation, not to mention legal troubles that could be costly.
LOSS OF CONTROL OVER CUSTOMER-EMPLOYEE INTERACTIONS
You can lose valuable data when employees use their personal cell phones to talk to customers and clients. It’s important to track sales, quality of customer service, and to know how often employees are interacting with clients. Employees using personal cell phones for work makes that much harder to keep track of.
When employees use phones provided by their company, it’s easier for the calls to be monitored and recorded. When you don’t know how often your employees talk with customers and what direction those conversations are going, you’re giving up a part of your business and you won’t be able to help your employees improve those interactions.
DAMAGE, THEFT, AND LOSS
If one of your employees loses their cell phone, their phone gets stolen, or their phone suffers some kind of damage, your company will be inconvenienced. These kinds of issues are more likely to happen when an employee uses their cell phone for personal use and not just during work hours. If there is unencrypted data on the phone, your business is at risk.
Even if your employee is abiding by certain security measures your company put in place, they could have slipped up in other ways, like by having passwords saved in their notes app or having texted company credit card information to a colleague. Hacking technology is so advanced that when a device is out of your employee’s hands, a lot could go wrong.
DATA LEAVES WITH THE EMPLOYEE
If an employee leaves the company, they take their personal cell phone — and potentially your company’s data and contacts — with them.
Your employees are bound to their personal cell phone numbers even after they leave your business. This is a big problem if you don’t have a procedure in place for revoking access to company applications and information as soon as an employee leaves.
When an employee leaves, some clients who are used to calling their cell phone could still contact them, possibly without another key point of contact at your company. That employee may ignore their calls, leaving them frustrated, or could convince that client to follow them to their new company. With a work phone that gets turned in upon resignation, that’s less likely to happen.
A very common problem with employees using personal cell phones for work is no disconnecting between work and home life. With one cell phone for everything, it’s impossible to separate the two.
Even if you promote, encourage, and instill a positive work culture, you don’t have control over a client calling your employee before they’ve gotten through their first cup of coffee or as they try to enjoy a family dinner. It isn’t good for your employee, and as a result, isn’t good for your business.
Another result of this is a continuously disrupted workflow. It’s hard for employees to do something like block out texts from a group chat when waiting on a call from a client. When a cell phone serves this dual purpose, it’s disruptive to the workday.
HOW TO PREVENT PROBLEMS
If your employees are using personal cell phones for work, make sure they know what security measures and precautions to take. It’s a good idea to train your employees on how to look out for common cyber attacks like phishing.
To further avoid problems with employees using personal cell phones for work, have plans in place for how to respond to emergencies — like becoming a victim to a cyber attack — and how to cut off access to your business’s information when an employee exits the company.
Our team at Cornerstone Technologies is ready to help your business prevent and respond to cyber attacks or threats that stem from the use of personal cell phones for work. We work on the day-to-day security of your systems and with your IT team to prevent attacks. Contact us today to find out how we can help keep your data and your network safe!