Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs are now thoroughly mainstream, with about two-thirds of all North American businesses supporting them.

That level of support is remarkably consistent across small, medium, and enterprise-sized organizations, according to Frost & Sullivan’s ninth annual Mobile Business Solutions Survey. And with good reason, because businesses have come to see the clear benefits of BYOD.

Benefits such as eliminating the costs of device purchases and service plans and avoiding the need to dedicate resources to managing and maintaining a company-owned device inventory. And the biggest benefit of all may be the increased productivity for employees who are happier to use a familiar phone rather than having to deal with two – their own and a company-provided device.

According to Frost & Sullivan, “a strong case can be made that BYOD popularity will either continue as is or even increase over the near term – basically because we expect the current adoption drivers to actually increase in intensity.” Those drivers are the increasing demand for single-device convenience by users and the desire for cost avoidance by businesses.

The compliance conundrum

But in two industries – financial services and home healthcare – there are obstacles to BYOD usage that most other businesses don’t face.

Regulatory compliance is a major challenge in both of these areas, but so is maintaining responsive, direct engagement with clients and patients. Those two priorities are often in direct conflict with each other.

When it comes to compliance, organizations are understandably fearful of violating regulatory requirements relating to privacy and record-keeping. How can they know their employees’ communications are secure? How can they keep track of important discussions? It boils down to a matter of control, ensuring that each and every employee is following the law.

For engagement and for keeping clients and patients updated, texting is the answer. It offers immediacy like no other means of communication, but it can also be one of the least secure methods. The sheer number of texts makes recordkeeping and control difficult at best without the right policies and management solutions in place.

Challenging environments

Consider an investment bank, where wealth managers and advisors are weary of juggling both a personal and a company-owned phone, and want to move to BYOD. They operate in one of the toughest regulatory environments, where compliance is unforgiving regardless of the changing mix of technologies and products.

Here communications capture is a central priority, with rules stipulating how to use, record, retain, and secure all electronic communications with clients, including texts and voice calls. It is electronic communications non-compliance that is the top source of FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) fines, Frost & Sullivan notes.

When some of these companies move to BYOD, they attempt to solve the problem by banning all texting with clients. While that may help them remain compliant, it can damage customer relationships. Both employees and clients become frustrated, which can lead to client churn.

The home healthcare industry is in a similar situation. HIPAA patient confidentiality and privacy requirements mandate secure communications and an auditable communications trail. But when individual caregivers are forced to deal with two phones, it can get confusing, and they can easily pick the wrong device to send a text to a patient and run the risk of incurring fines for their employers.

Like investment banks, some home healthcare agencies have implemented BYOD but gone on to prohibit texting. Caregivers don’t like it, patients don’t like it, and the overall quality of care can suffer, not to mention the productivity of the caregivers.

Particularly in a highly regulated environment, BYOD programs must be strictly managed and supported. That calls for comprehensive solutions, because winging it when it comes to BYOD management not only doesn’t work, but it can get a company into deep trouble.

Finding a solution

What should any organization – but especially those in regulated industries – look for in a BYOD solution?

Simplicity is important. If it isn’t easy to use for employees, they may be tempted to work around it, which sabotages the drive to maintain regulatory compliance. A solution that can be downloaded as an app and is simple to implement will be the best choice.

Creating two phone numbers, one for personal use and one for business use, on the BYOD phone is the best strategy. That keeps all the business calls and texts in one place where they can be easily monitored, logged, and archived, yet it gives the employee complete privacy on the personal side of the phone.

The company maintains full control of the business number, and can easily remove it from the employee’s phone if the employee leaves the company and then reassign it to another individual as needed. A solution such as this can offer the benefits of an employee-provided phone in terms of its management capabilities, along with the benefits of leveraging users’ personal phones.

A joint Frost & Sullivan and Sprint webinar addressed all these BYOD issues in detail. The webinar also spotlighted the advantages of the Sprint MultiLine, enterprise BYOD solution.

MultiLine improves communications efficiency with clients, patients, and customers by enabling secure and compliant communications, providing two distinct phone numbers on a BYOD phone, and enabling comprehensive management by the company for the business side of each phone. It overcomes the challenges that regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare face when it comes to BYOD.

That is why Frost & Sullivan selected Sprint as the recipient of its 2019 Product Leadership Award in the Enterprise BYOD Solutions space.