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Help! Client BYOD R...
 

Help! Client BYOD Requirements  


Patti Kittilstved
Posts: 2
Patina Nation Member
Joined: 2 years ago

I could use some help! A new client is requiring me to sign their company's Bring Your Own Device policy to access data on their network using my personal devices (laptop, iPhone, tablet). The problem is, the document is geared exclusively towards employees (not vendors or contractors), and allows the company extensive authority to monitor my usage through software/apps that must be installed on the devices. In order to accomplish the scope of work required (and agreed upon), I must have access to their internal materials and email. If I don't sign, I can't access. The only other alternative would be to have them assign a company laptop and phone to me. However, I could potentially end up with multiple (possibly many) company-assigned computers and phones, depending on my client load and their requirements. What would you suggest? Just sign the document and not ruffle feathers with the client? Carry around multiple devices all the time? Yikes! I need to get them an answer next week, so any advice is appreciated. If you've faced this before, what did you do? THANKS!!!

 

I have never been asked to sign this type of policy as an independent contractor (I do have a signed Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality Agreement in place with the client already). 

4 Replies
Lloyd Ebert
Posts: 5
Consultant
Joined: 2 years ago

This is a fairly common practice these days and I've personally always been big a proponent of having separate devices for client related projects.  The only exception is my phone, as I'm in the same camp as you and I also don't want to carry around multiple devices.  From my experience, the only impact I've seen on my mobile device is the stricter requirements imposed for passcodes to unlock your device.  There are, however, several advantages to using a separate computer for client projects:  

  1. Ease of mind:  Trust me when I tell you, you don't want to be "that consultant that infected your clients network".  With how many malicious emails, ads, and pop-ups that are floating around, it's better to be safe than sorry.  Not only would your reputation be impacted, but your financials can be at stake as well.
  2. Privacy:  When it comes to BYOD, you're pretty much signing off on your privacy.  Any activity/traffic on your device can, and most likely is, actively monitored or at least reported on.  Do you really want your client to know what you're browsing for on Amazon or what banks you use?
  3. Work/Life Balance:  The most effective way to successfully balance your work and personal life is to have separate devices.  With our "always connected" world that we live in, this has never been more important.  I can't tell you how many times I've been online, catching up on news, and all of a sudden my mind goes to work.  Next thing I know, it's now 11pm and I've been working for 3 hours.  Was it necessary?  No, it wasn't.  Was it convenient?  Yes, way too convenient.  This may be good for our clients, but it tends to have a negative impact on our lives.

With all that being said, you have make the judgement call for yourself.  If you have the ability to receive a client issued laptop, I personally would take it.  When it comes to the phone, if you're alright with carrying two phones--great!  If not, then the convenience of them provisioning your phone may trump the privacy concerns and/or stricter security policies.  

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2 Replies
Patti Kittilstved
Joined: 2 years ago

Patina Nation Member
Posts: 2

Thank you, Lloyd, that was a tremendously helpful reply. Your advice was sound, and I truly appreciate it. As much as I don't want to carry multiple devices, based on everything you've outlined, I think I have little choice. Thanks again!  

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Stephen Taylor
Joined: 12 months ago

Patina Nation Member
Posts: 12

@pattithrioconsulting-com

This may be an instance of replying too late to be helpful, but one of the things to consider is what happens to your device in the case of an intrusion or departure.  If your company is doing this, I hope for their sake that they have tools for removing data (trade secrets, non-public customer information etc.) from your device. Those can have unpleasant, even terminal side effects. 

Moreover, ongoing surveillance software requires processing capacity and may not discriminate as cleanly as one assumes.  Device performance may suffer and you are relying on them perfecting the segregation.  In the event of litigation involving information that you have worked with, your device may also need to be sequestered, possibly for a period of time.  

It is possible to be set up to remote access but not store, process or retain) any data on your device.  I would be tempted to request this sort of view remote functionality rather than go to the multiple device approach. I have also successfully secured agreement to provide me with devices for their work alone (which is nice because then they maintain and replace everything), but a pain if you have multiple clients.

If neither of those options are practical, I would personally opt for separate devices.  Since this is an old question, I post mostly in case others have a similar concern.  

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Joe Magid
Posts: 11
Patina Nation Member
Joined: 1 year ago

I probably agree with getting a laptop from the client and perhaps not worrying about accessing their network with your phone.

What I've did for years as an employee was to put Putty on my work computer (it doesn't require a standard install, just a copy from another install if you don't have local administrator rights) and tunnel into my home network to access my personal computer left on at home with Remote Desktop. This does require setting up an SSH server on your personal box. I've use Cygwin to do this, there are pretty good instructions on the Web, though word is that Windows 10 will soon allow running both Linux and Windows and Linux has an SSH server built in, so I'm looking forward to setting that up and doing away with Cygwin.

Granted this requires a bit of technical expertise, but if you are up to it, it eliminates the need to carry 2 PCs on the road.

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