errors and omissions insurance Have You Checked Your BYOD Policies Lately? | Axis Error & Omission
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Have You Checked Your BYOD Policies Lately?


Have You Checked Your BYOD Policies LatelyAccording to Smarsh’s 2015 Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report, the percentage of respondents that allow personal devices for business communication is up 17% from last year’s survey, and 73% of respondents have a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy, up from 58% last year. That’s a good thing. But, as increasingly more businesses allow personal devices for business communications, more and more workers are relying on text messages to connect with colleagues and customers – and this issue needs to be addressed properly.

While using their devices allows employees to be responsive to their co-workers and clients via text messaging, it’s also creating a host of e-discovery challenges. This is particularly so when those text and email messages on the employees’ personal devices become relevant to a litigation matter and are outside the employer’s reach. It’s also especially critical for organizations in highly regulated and litigious industries, such as financial services, banking, legal, insurance, and real estate among others.

Companies need to mitigate the risks of BYOD policies by addressing email and text message retention requirements in their computer use policies. This could mean placing restrictions on the subject matter of any text or email message that may be work-related or directed to a client. It can also mean ensuring that any attorney-client privileged or other sensitive communications are sent using the appropriate level of security and retained in the company’s systems. To the extent permissible under local or state law, companies also should provide in their policies that they have the right to access work-related text and email messages on employees’ personal devices. Of course, the best way to ultimately ensure compliance is to restrict the types of communications that should be sent using personal devices versus the company’s systems to routine communications that should not have any greater implications for future litigation.

“Text messaging poses different challenges when it comes to collecting and preserving text messages for the purposes of litigation or an investigation,” explains Gareth Evans, partner at Gibson Dunn, in an article in Inside Council. “You can collect emails and search them off of a company server. You don’t have to go to the device to collect them, you can extract them from the servers themselves, so email is fairly straightforward. With text applications, they are not on accessible servers, not on company servers, they are device-to-device communication or from one app to another on the Internet. You have to extract from the devices themselves, which is a challenge for the company. You can impose auto-delete protocols on emails, and policies in terms of how long they are kept, but you cannot do that with text messaging.”

The bottom line: If you haven’t done so, be sure to review your BYOD policy when it comes to text messaging co-workers, clients, vendors, etc. on personal devices. You want to make sure your company is properly protected and has access to information during e-discovery that may be residing on your employees’ personal devices.

Axis Insurance Services specializes in key management liability insurance programs for a broad spectrum of industries, including for attorneys, insurance agents and brokers, real estate agents and brokers, mortgage bankers and others. We provide insurance solutions for protection against professional liability, directors and officers liability, employment practices and fiduciary liability exposures. We also provide cyber liability and crime insurance solutions. Give us a call at (877) 787-5258 to discuss your needs.

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Blogged on: August 26, 2015 by Mike Smith
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