The benefits of allowing employees to bring their own devices to work are pretty clear. A study conducted by Pew Research Center earlier this year found that 64 percent of American adults own a smartphone, which means a vast majority of the workforce already has the hardware your company needs to conduct business. This means less of a financial burden on you company for hardware procurement, while also allowing employees to use the devices they know and love.
But there is a dark side to BYOD.
The reason many workplaces are hesitant to fall in line with the BYOD revolution is the security risks it typically entails. Allowing people to blend their home life and work life in a single device can be dangerous. However, by following basic security protocols, BYOD can be a viable option.
To that end, we've compiled this list of three security tips to make sure your company benefits from all BYOD has to offer without falling victim to the security risks:
1. Have a well-defined list of do's and don'ts: Any company even remotely considering enacting a BYOD policy needs to sit down and have a long discussion about the definition of acceptable behavior on a personal device used for work purposes. Employees will be used to doing as they please on their own devices, which is perfectly fine when these devices don't have company data on them.
The problems begin to arise when employees forget the importance of the work information stored on their devices. If given the opportunity to work from their own devices, employees will invariably make some bad decisions in terms of data security. All it takes is a worker clicking one wrong link to put all of your company's data at risk. It's vital that employees recognize the importance of proper device usage, and it's why they should also be included in the creation of this list of rules.
2. Mandate proper device security: This tip sounds like it should just be a part of the first, or even something that should be left to common sense. Sadly, quite a lot of Americans simply don't value the security of their devices. A study conducted by Consumer Reports last year found that around 34 percent of Americans take no security measures whatsoever to keep their phone safe.
This means that more than a third of your employees don't even use a password to protect their own data, a troubling statistic if you're attempting to implement a BYOD policy. When sitting down with employees to talk about the list of do's and don'ts, you'll need to have a separate discussion concerning safety practices such as setting up a complex password to gain access to the device.
3. Prepare for the eventuality of lost device: Notice that this tip doesn't say "Prepare for the possibility of a lost device." This is because if you intend to cash in on all of the benefits of a BYOD policy, you're going to have to accept the risk that one of your employees will eventually lose a device with work information on it. The same Consumer Reports study found that in 2013 alone, 4.5 million devices were either lost or stolen.
But don't let this statistic get you down about the advantages of BYOD. Your company can absolutely benefit from not having to constantly upgrade hardware, as long as you take the necessary precautions. This is why anyone wishing to implement a BYOD policy should contact the experts at ISG Technology. Not only can they help you set up your list of do's and don'ts, they can also help protect your company data through device encryption, taking the headache out of employees losing hardware or not taking the proper precautions.