As workplaces embrace the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend, enterprises need to think through the security implications of letting personal devices onto their networks. There are many positives for companies and employees in allowing users to bring a personal device to work. Meanwhile, the move to BYOD only seems set to grow. A report by Global Market Insights found the BYOD market is on course to hit almost $367 billion by 2022. That marks a 10-fold increase since 2014.

But that means IT managers need to be on the front foot when it comes to BYOD security.

Good Governance and Security

Establishing clear guidelines around BYOD use can prevent headaches further down the track. Formalizing a BYOD policy means getting everybody on the same page by reinforcing security concerns upfront.

Other aspects of good governance include registering devices, getting users to sign an acceptable use policy, and ensuring all employees are informed of potential security concerns immediately.

The biggest issue by far around BYOD is privacy. To alleviate these concerns communicate the rules and procedures governing hardware and data loss, explain what monitoring may take place. You should also explain the potential consequences of that loss.

Benefits of BYOD

Benefits abound for companies and employees. BYOD means lower overheads for startups. It also means lower hardware and associated maintenance costs for established companies. Employees can work with the tools and systems they are familiar with, saving time and energy needed to learn a new operating system. Meanwhile, it is a practical policy for remote workers. However, the most important thing is that companies enforcing BYOD have reported greater employee satisfaction.

A Few Drawbacks

Embracing BYOD might mean giving up a little bit of control over IT. The biggest threat is leaving the company exposed to a cyberattack on its websites or data. Cyber attacks can lead to lawsuits and substantial fines, not to mention significant damage to a company’s reputation.

Common security risks include local exposure, data leakage, data loss, and access to data from friends and family at home. Employee concerns surrounding privacy are well justified. Companies can legally access all their files if their device can access company servers and networks.

It’s also worth noting that BYOD can often create technical challenges such as connecting to Wi-Fi and device compatibility for transferring files.

Implementing a BYOD Policy

Getting the implementation right will ensure a smooth transition. Decide what devices are allowed on the network and then maintain an accurate inventory.

Design a security policy that includes acceptable use, and don’t forget to cover yourself when the employee leaves. That policy should consist of disabling emails, changing network access passwords, and wiping company files stored locally.

Confidentiality is also an essential aspect of the policy. Company and employee information, as well as customer data, could potentially get compromised as soon as a smartphone leaves the office.

Finally, make sure all devices are software-compatible with company systems.

BYOD has brought ease into the workplace, reduced IT costs for businesses, and increased productivity among employees. But as the value and shape of information change, enterprises will need to be on the front foot to ensure security is airtight.

If your Northern California business needs help managing employee personal devices, contact CNS at (916) 366-6566.