Bring Your Own Device Programs and Health Care: Too Risky to Work? - Scripts - News for the Health Care Community

by Poyner Spruill LLP
Contact

Recent workplace surveys report that as many as 87% of employees use personal electronic devices for work, raising compliance, data loss, and security risks for their employers. As a result, designing a workable “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) program is probably overdue.

The immediate reaction of a health care organization is to ban the practice rather than risk compliance problems.  BYOD is a tricky issue, without question, but it’s important to consider the realities of the situation rather than getting tied up in an unrealistic policy: 48% of companies claim they would never authorize employees to use personal devices for work, but 57% acknowledge that employees do it anyway. The wave of mobile devices has already flooded your offices. It’s time to figure out what to do about it.

Even if you permit BYOD only in limited circumstances, it’s still important to lay the ground rules that will help maximize compliance and minimize risk. We can cover only a few key considerations in this article, but here are some of the major issues.

Information Security and Compliance

HIPAA compliance will be the first concern of any health care organization implementing BYOD, and rightly so. HIPAA is heavy on policy and security requirements, so unless PHI will not be accessed or stored using personal devices, then at least part of that compliance program will need to be revisited.  The risk of a reportable security breach also may increase, although that risk is likely already present based on the substantial percentages of employees admitting that they use their own device for work regardless of employer restrictions. Enterprise-managed BYOD may improve the odds by providing malware protection, better access controls, remote wiping, and transmission security.

Social Media

If you enable BYOD, social media use may go up, but temper your zeal to prohibit or monitor that use. In recent years, employers have been repeatedly dinged by the National Labor Relations Board for overly broad social media policies, were found liable for accessing employees’ social media communication in unauthorized ways, and scaled back reviews of social network sites due to Fair Credit Reporting Act liability. Employers should revisit their social media policies to make sure they are not already running afoul of this rapidly evolving list of pitfalls. You can read more about any of these issues in publications available on our website.

Employee Privacy

Like it or not, employees have some privacy rights not impacted by your warnings that they have no expectation of privacy when using your equipment. Although you can revise applicable policies for BYOD, your employee owns the device and is clearly entitled to make personal use of it. Similarly, that device essentially tracks their whereabouts 24/7 and reflects all manner of activities, such as websites visited, items purchased, books read, games played, photos taken, apps used, and calls and messages sent and received. Your organization must decide the extent to which it needs to know such information and plan accordingly.

e-Discovery and Departing Employees

Inevitably, if employees store work-related information locally, device retrieval may be necessary in legal discovery or when an employee leaves the company. For litigation, strict protocols providing for immediate preservation before employees modify or delete files are crucial. BYOD will add expense and delay to discovery and to the employee-departure process.

Building an Effective BYOD Program

The first step in building an effective BYOD program is to identify your security framework. At minimum, policies and/or terms of use should require device-level security such as strong passwords, malware protection, encryption, time-outs following inactivity, and remote wiping capabilities.  Mobile device management (MDM) provides a more advanced option; most will provide employees with a secure tether to the office to access resources remotely using an application on the device. MDM solutions improve upon device-level security by minimizing the risk of data loss and preserving data integrity and access control with containerized solutions.  For the command-and-control set, a virtual-desktop infrastructure (VDI) may hold appeal. With VDI, applications and data are stored centrally, unlike the MDM, where some data and apps live locally on the device. Maintaining secure access credentials and effective user authentication are paramount, but the device itself contains no work-related data to be lost or breached. To determine which approach is best, inventory your business units, their activities, and their use or proposed use of mobile devices.

The next major step is to provide a program framework through documentation.  A written program policy is needed to establish privacy boundaries and set security expectations. You also should review existing social media, security, and compliance policies to ensure you have not set contradictory requirements or limitations. The last piece of documentation should be terms of use that employees commit to (including remote wiping of all content) in exchange for the privilege of using BYOD.

Last, support your security and policy framework with training, reminders, and program reviews to help employees remember the requirements and to help your organization establish legal compliance.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Poyner Spruill LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Poyner Spruill LLP
Contact
more
less

Poyner Spruill LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!