How BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) Affects Security
BYOD Might be Better for Your Budget, but Could Lead to Serious Security Risks
As work becomes more digitally focused in many industries, more and more companies are adopting BYOD, or “bring your own device,” policies. When employees can use their own smartphones, tablets and computers for work tasks, their responsibilities automatically become more accessible and flexible. Information, such as organization databases and email functions, are made accessible from personal devices so that employees can remotely access pertinent work details from anywhere, anytime.
Microsoft found in 2012 that almost 70 percent of employees use their own devices for work-related responsibilities, and surely that number has only grown since then. With the amount of companies instating BYOD policies for their teams, the concern of cybersecurity also becomes a reality. There’s no telling who can hack into personal laptops or when your iPhone might be swiped from your pocket, which introduces a level of concern for data security at companies who encourage employees to BYOD.
While there are pros and cons to establishing “bring your own device” policies at your company, there is no true right answer for which way to go. Industries that deal with highly private information may want to forego allowing employees to BYOD for security reasons, while more digital-related fields could benefit more from it.
Advantages of BYOD
Of course, the biggest reason that companies love BYOD is the cost savings from not needing to buy a large supply of computers and phones for employees. This significantly lower cost allows businesses to allot funds toward other resources, like stronger cybersecurity or increased marketing overhead. People naturally take better care of their own belongings, so employers don’t have to worry about repair costs (which would be the employee’s own responsibility with BYOD anyway).
Workers are also most familiar with their own devices. If you’re an Apple person or a Windows fan, you generally like to stick with the same suit. It’s actually been proven that employees are more productive when they can work on their own devices because they are more accustomed to the layout and technology. American workers saved 81 minutes of work a week on average by working on their own devices, according to a Cisco study.
BYOD also opens up an incredible amount of flexibility for employees. They can work from home, in the middle of the night, on vacation or from their closet, if they feel so inclined. Younger generations of workers find great value in the ability to work from anywhere outside of the restrictions of an office. With BYOD, job satisfaction goes up and quality work increases.
The pitfalls of “bring your own device”
The main concern of BYOD is security. Enterprise data is at risk of being lost, which could be detrimental to a company. If a device is stolen or lost, or faces unauthorized access, data breaches become a huge risk. Of course, larger companies with more employees, and therefore more devices, have the highest probability of risk.
There are also threats and attacks, like scams, malware and fake apps, that personal devices can be more vulnerable to facing. Many people do not verify the security settings while online shopping, which can introduce major threats. It’s also common for individuals to use their work email for personal matters, keep work passwords on their personal devices, and click links on social media sites—all of which can create serious cybersecurity hazards.
How companies should address security and BYOD
It’s first important to establish what employees can use their personal devices for concerning work needs. Can they access company email, sensitive documents and corporate resources? Coming up with a security strategy will help reduce the chances of an emergency.
At the very least, every employee should have a password to access their devices, maintain anti-spyware and anti-virus software and use a safe, company-approved operating system to access business files.
With clear standards set, companies face less of a risk of experiencing security setbacks. Having an IT support team maintain security standards and help employees understand best practices for security on their personal devices will set you up for success with your BYOD policy. To see how Jot IT can create an infrastructure that supports and maintains safe BYOD practices, give our team of IT experts a call today.