Today we’re witnessing the “consumerization of IT,” where employees use their own digital devices (smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptop computers) for work. As such, it’s important for businesses to acknowledge both benefits and risks of BYOD—Bring Your Own Device—in order to mitigate security risks. Does your business have a BYOD policy to protect itself from the risks that come along with this trend?
What is BYOD?
While the initial model for work tech consisted of company-issued devices or technology stipends, BYOD is the use of personally-owned technology for work purposes. For example, using your personal smartphone to access corporate emails or documents.
BYOD supports improved productivity; work can be completed faster when employees use a familiar, customized device that’s always on hand. Employee satisfaction and morale also benefit. Critically, BYOD can result in substantial cost savings for a company, with hardware, software, maintenance, and fleet management needs drastically reduced.
Unfortunately, relying on individually-owned devices can present threats to your company’s security, from physical the loss of devices to virus and malware exposure through unsecured Wi-Fi access and varying security protocols. Working hours and recordkeeping are also complicated.
A BYOD policy will enable your business to govern the management of unsupported devices, safeguarding your enterprise. To develop an effective BYOD policy, match employer-employee needs such as IT support, permitted types of business data, and usage expectations. Here are a few aspects of BYOD to take into consideration:
● Security — Consider requiring security software (anti-virus, -malware, -spyware) as well as encryption and passwords. Set procedures for what to do in the event a device is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised.
● Monitoring & Privacy — How will employees’ personal information be protected? Establish the right to monitor, save, or delete any company-related information and determine when a device must be surrendered (for servicing, investigations, end of employment, etc.). Consider using enterprise software with a “virtual partition” to keep work and personal information separate.
● Use — Who can use their devices, and for what kinds of work? When will devices be used, and how is “device time” recorded and paid? What software will they need to install? What data and productivity insights do you need?
BYOD can provide productivity and morale improvements for your employees while saving your business money and facilitating faster adoption of new technology. However, it’s essential that you address security, privacy, and usage issues through a thoughtful and comprehensive BYOD policy.