You probably have your smart phone within arm’s reach at this very moment. With immediate access to the internet and the capability of constant communication at our fingertips, allowing employees to use their personal smart phones and other devices on an enterprise level has become the norm for most organizations. But allowing employees to use these devices comes with benefits and risks.
THE BENEFITS OF BYOD
IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY AND AGILITY – The ease of logging into email, accessing documents and remote data access, has profoundly changed the way companies do business. No longer tethered to an office or PC, employees now have the flexibility to work from anywhere, at any time of day, in any time zone. Our smart device is our mobile office.
EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION – Employees are more comfortable using their own devices. With a company assigned phone, laptop, or tablet, there are restrictions placed on device use. With an employee owned device, they have the flexibility and freedom to utilize their devices for both professional and personal use. It also allows for greater flexibility in performing their job which can lead to improved productivity.
COMPANY BOTTOMLINE – with BYOD, companies can save money. The employee, not the organization, pay for the purchasing and upkeep of devices, as well as data plans, and upgrades. And, as most smartphone users tend to upgrade more often than corporations do, companies can benefit from the newer technology and more powerful device capabilities when employees do upgrade their devices.
There are many benefits of BYOD, but they come with risk. Implementing a BYOD policy and network security enforcement is a challenge for organizations both large or small.
THE RISKS OF BYOD
CYBER THREATS – Employees logging in from an unsecure network, malicious software and application downloads, outdated or nonexistent virus protection are all factors than can leave a company’s network at risk for cyber-attacks through personal devices.
DATA LOSS AND RETRIEVAL – Protecting enterprise data from theft, deletion, loss, or unauthorized access is critical to network security. Ensuring that employee data is not merged with personal data and that data is retrieved and removed from devices once employment with the company ends are more factors that complicate data security.
When employees have access to an organization’s network that network is open to security breaches. Oversight and a comprehensive BYOD policy is key to mitigating these risks and securing enterprise data and applications.
DEFINE ACCESS – Define what levels of access employees have to data. The more sensitive the data, the more limited the access by employees.
EDUCATE EMPLOYEES – The human factor is the weakest link in terms of BYOD policy. Employees must be advised of the dangers of unsecured Wi-Fi and use of jailbroken phones. Reiterating the importance of password protection, device backups, software updates, etc. is especially crucial when a personal device is being used for business purposes.
DATA PROTECTION – Frequent network backups, security protocols for access and storage are mandatory. With the growing prevalence of cyber-attacks, encryption adds another layer of protection to sensitive data.
MONITORING AND OVERSIGHT – Companies must be proactive in network security, especially in regards to BYOD. Continual monitoring and testing of network security systems for vulnerabilities allows organizations to identify and correct issues before they can be exploited.
As BYOD becomes more commonplace, organizations, no matter their size, Smart devices are here to stay and companies will need an agile network and cyber security apparatus in place that can protect their data without damaging productivity.
Contact Advantel Networks to help your company safely enable mobility and BYOD in the workplace.