BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a commonly accepted practice in many organisations, allowing staff to bring their personal devices into the workplace and utilise it for work purposes. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown, you’d be hard-pressed to find an organisation that isn’t allowing some level of BYOD as a result of working from home. In this article, we will explore the risks and benefits of BYOD and how a comprehensive BYOD policy is critical to securing your organisational and client data.
Why is BYOD So Popular?
The reality is that BYOD benefits both employees and employers alike:
- Save money – Organisations are able to save money by eliminating the need to buy devices and equipment for staff.
- Boost productivity – According to reports, BYOD increases productivity by around 34%.
- Increase employee satisfaction – Employees enjoy using devices and tech they are already comfortable with, and don’t want the hassle of using multiple devices for personal and work needs.
These benefits are so considerable that around 74% of organisations already support this trend.
Understanding the Risks
BOYD understandably exposes organisations to certain risks, especially regarding data security and privacy. Common risks to consider include:
- Loss and theft – If a personal smartphone, tablet or laptop that is used for work purposes is lost or stolen, the data on this device could be at risk for third-party attacks.
- Lack of security – While employees are forced to follow security protocols for office equipment, there is no oversight for the security of personal devices. Employees may not know how to implement firewalls and anti-virus software on their own devices, they may simply not activate biometric and password security on them, and they could easily use hackable passwords or pass these passwords on to third parties.
- Unsecured Wi-Fi – This is a major security concern as staff take their personal devices home after hours, on weekends and holidays, connecting them to Wi-Fi networks at home, at coffee shops and at other businesses. Home networks are of special concern during lockdown, as many employees are continuing to work remotely and will likely do so for the months ahead.
- People leaving the company – Another concern is that people leaving the company will take valuable work information with them on their personal devices. This may not be malicious, but regardless of their intention, this business data would be vulnerable as a result.
Developing a BYOD Policy
Ideally, this should be implemented as part of your overall IT strategy in the workplace. Because BYOD opens your organisation to real risk and possible liability, it is essential that this policy is comprehensive, well-understood and enforced rather than a matter of checking a box. Without a BYOD policy, you won’t know what devices are accessing your business data, how many devices can access your data, who they belong to and what data they can access.
Without knowing this, someone with malicious intentions could easily access critical, private data, copy it off the network, and take it offsite to be used in criminal activities without your organisation being any the wiser. During the lockdown and working with remote teams on home Wi-Fi networks increases this vulnerability tenfold.
What Should Be Included in Your BYOD Policy?
A comprehensive BYOD policy should cover three important areas, including:
- Processes for securing and wiping company data off devices when an employee is leaving the company. Regardless of if an employee is terminated or leaves of their own choice, you need an identity and access management solution in place to handle it and ensure no secure data is lost or made vulnerable.
- What data is being accessed by your employees and if they are authorised to access this data. Tracking this and ensuring only necessary employees can access certain data is critical to reducing vulnerabilities and tracking potential breaches.
- What uses employees are putting company data and secure information to. You need to know what company resources are accessible to different devices and develop best use cases for them.
Get Professional Input on Your BYOD Policy
Creating and implementing a BYOD policy is a challenging task, as you have to understand the threat landscape that personal devices pose to your organisation as well as how to address them without mitigating the positive impact of BYOD. The IT security team at Milan Industries knows the risks and potential threats that BYOD exposes your company to – and how to address them.
Our team has considerable experience in this field, and we’re dedicated to properly understanding your business in order to deliver a tailored solution that offers unparalleled support and security within an achievable budget. Our track record speaks for itself and we’re proud to have scored a 97% happiness rate in our client surveys, so contact us today if you’re looking for an IT solutions expert that will always put you first.