Over the past decade, companies have gotten progressively better at governing the primary communication channels managed by their employees. Rules covering the usage and management of social media, email and in many cases, even instant message, are commonplace. But there’s one channel you’re rapidly losing control of: the phone number.
As more employee-owned devices find their way into the workplace, companies are reacting by establishing sophisticated bring your own device (BYOD) protocols in order to protect data security. While many of these BYOD programs are aimed at defining which apps are approved for company usage, the threat posed by mobile phone numbers themselves goes unnoticed.
Think about it. Executives, project managers and your sales reps all use their mobile phones to communicate with customers and partners. We’ve all felt pressure to put our mobile numbers on our business cards, as leaving it off might indicate a lack of commitment.
That’s great as long as employees stay. But when they leave, do you really want your customers calling your former employee’s mobile phone when she’s working for your top competitor? It’s time to examine solutions that can enable your employees to gain the benefits of using their favorite devices while communicating with clients on a number that is owned by your business.
This model is hardly without precedent. Just take the example of email. When an employee starts working at a new company, the standard practice is to issue a company email account to that employee. It makes sense. The employee keeps her personal email address, but all work-related communications are handled through the corporate email, giving CIOs the potential for oversight into email communications. If that employee leaves the company, the company retains her corporate email address and her contacts. Companies can therefore prevent security risks that arise from employees using personal emails for work communications.
Yet this same model is almost never applied to voice communications. When I worked as an inside sales rep, I spent more time communicating with my leads over the phone than over email, yet most businesses have no system in place to bolster security when employees make and take calls on their mobile devices. When I was in sales, I used a desktop phone and phone number owned by my company. But the workplace has evolved since then. Sales reps are now using their own mobile devices for work, and CIOs are establishing BYOD programs to try to keep up. The problem isn’t that reps are using their own devices. BYOD has been proven to improve productivity. CIOs simply have to invest in technology that empowers reps to use their own devices while keeping vital company data secure.
This is a problem that we hope to solve at RingDNA. When we were building our mobile apps for iPhone and iPad, it was paramount that our apps actually improve a company’s security rather than compromise it. Using email as a model, RingDNA gives managers the ability to easily provision corporate numbers and assign them to their reps. On a single BYOD device, an employee can therefore have their personal number (for chatting with friends and family during breaks) and their RingDNA number which can be used to strictly handle work-related communications. While calls to either number will ring on the same device, CIOs can have oversight over work communications (our app logs all calls and other tasks in Salesforce.com), while personal communications remain private. Most importantly, every RingDNA number remains the property of your company. That way, if an employee leaves your organization, they can take their device with them, but leave your customers with you.