NEW YORK (TheStreet) — A decade ago, companies could ensure worker productivity and information security with a firewall. Today employees have complete access to the Internet via unsecured smartphones that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Companies are both embracing the change and taking extreme measures to prevent lost time and data.
A few companies, including government agencies, the military and security companies, have policies that require employees to check their phones at the door, says Rob Dinuzzo, marketing manager for Siber Systems, creators of RoboForm and Goodsync.
"Some organizations, for national security or corporate security reasons, you have to check your personal device when you walk in. This is an extreme step, but a necessary step," he explains.
Companies that don't deal with this level of security aren't likely to implement similar device restrictions anytime soon, however. Most companies have a structure in place that says, "We trust you to get work done and use devices in a responsible way," He says.
When companies try to be too restrictive on personal technology, they run the risk of hurting employee morale.
"Any extreme step can make employees think you don't trust them," he says.
Here are five lessons learned by companies that let employee smartphones into the workplace:
There is a trade-off to allowing smartphones.
Employers know that they have employees who can take their smartphones and goof off playing Candy Crush for a few minutes, but they also have employees they can reach 24 hours a day via phone and email.
“If they didn’t have that device, then I couldn’t communicate with them outside the hours of 9 to 5, and frankly if I couldn’t communicate with them outside of that window, then I couldn’t get as much done,” says Mike Malloy, executive vice president of products and strategy for Internet security company Webroot.