Why the corporate cell phone improves security and driver fleet safety
With the rapid proliferation and expanded use of cell phones, employees are typically having greater and greater access to privileged company information. The security of confidential company information may be compromised by companies relying on their employees to use their personal phones as their primary work device (otherwise known as Bring Your Own Device or BYOD programs). Relying on BYOD programs can seem to be more cost-effective for the company in the short run, but in reality this approach can result in much bigger expenses for the company in the long run. Here are a couple reasons why:
- The loss of company assets or intellectual property resulting from a personal BYOD phone that is lost and/or belonging to an unhappy employee who leaves the company can result in immeasurable damage to the company.
- Asking your employees to use their personal phones for business communications may also expose the company to much greater liability. This is particularly true when it comes to employees who drive company vehicles because work communications on any device can give rise to employer liability if an accident happens.
Given that the company has no control over the personal device and yet the employee is being asked to use their personal device for work purposes, the company is exposing itself to unnecessary risk and liability when it could simply move all work communications to a company provided cell phone which can be controlled and restricted because it’s owned by the company.
- Corporate cell phones are typically managed by Mobile Device Management software so that the phones can be remotely wiped and/or located if lost or if the employee leaves the company.
- Furthermore, companies can mandate cell phone blocking technologies on company provided cell phones to minimize the likelihood of unauthorized cell phone usage behind the wheel.
BYOD phones vs. Company Provided Cell Phones
The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phone is the personal cell phone the driver brings to work and uses during his work day. The commercial fleet must typically have permission of the driver to put any app used for business purposes on his or her BYOD mobile phone. In addition, the employee is typically compensated for business use of the phone, additional data usage, etc. While the driver (the owner of the phone) may not be concerned with security of company information, the company certainly is. While the driver may be comfortable misusing the phone while driving on company business, adding risk to the picture, the fleet and insurer are the ones who will ultimately pay the price for byod cell phone misuse that results in accidents. For these reasons, it is critical that the fleet has the authority to demand that mobile resources, such as cell phones, are centrally controlled and that appropriate fleet driver safety programs can be mandated for use.
Although they represent an incremental expense, the fleet would be well advised to provide corporate cell phones to drivers. A company cell phone policy while driving would then be looked upon the same as technology such as OBD telematic devices or video cameras installed in the vehicle, improving fleet driver safety. Company provided cell phones clearly are company assets and benefit the company, restricting access to unapproved applications.
Top 5 reasons fleet drivers should use company provided cell phones
- Work Communications on BYOD Phones can be a liability: Companies are liable for what happens with phone usage for work communications (texting, emailing, calling) regardless of whether the communication is happening on a company cell phone or fleet driver’s personal phone. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) mobile phones are beyond the control of the company with the user typically using unapproved apps and possibly using the phone in an unsafe fashion. Company-provided cell phones are owned by the company and can be controlled and/or restricted behind the wheel. Furthermore, the phone can also be used as a tool for improving driver behavior and driver fleet management.
- BYOD Phones are harder to support: BYOD phones come in all shapes and sizes. Corporate cell phones provide a consistent platform to support apps and applications better for an improved user experience and significantly lower support requirements.
- Old phones suck. People tend to hang onto personal phones for a long time, resulting in shorter battery lives. This can become very problematic when you are asking your employees to use GPS to navigate throughout the workday to your customer locations. Company provided cell phones can be cost-effectively refreshed on a regular cycle, thus avoiding these challenges and keeping your employees productive.
- Protecting Sensitive Work Communications: A company cell phone for employees provides the company with greater ability to protect access to company information, thus protecting intellectual property. As mentioned earlier, Mobile Device Management software can easily locate and/or remote wipe any company provided cell phone should the need to do so occur.
- Fleet Insurance may treat BYOD claims differently: If an insurer can trace the root cause of a claim back to phone distraction from a BYOD phone vs a corporate issued phone, it stands to reason that Insurers may start to exclude claims resulting from the BYOD phone, or perhaps even charging higher premiums for fleets that do not issue corporate phones.
The misuse of cell phones by commercial fleet drivers, a prime source of driver distraction, is a direct cause of a very large percentage of accidents. With improper security, these BYOD cell phones represent a lack of vital protection for company resources and without the use of available technology, like the LifeSaver Mobile app solution for distracted driving, the fleet exposes itself to a higher probability of having an accident and facing the legal consequences of such use.
Company provided cell phones provide a safer solution, potentially protecting company assets and mandating the use of required applications. Whether the fleet provides corporate cell phones to drivers or drivers use BYOD mobile phones, the fleet is responsible for accidents caused through cell phone misuse so fleets and insurers should incentivize and mandate the use of available technology to minimize driver distraction and related accidents.