You’ve likely heard of the Bring Your Own Device concept in the workplace where employees bring their own mobile devices to the office. While this can save a company considerable money on having to buy computer equipment, the BYOD concept is currently at a crossroads on how mainstream it’s going to become. At issue is mostly security and how the risks can be balanced with the chances for a business efficiency not seen before.
Will the BOYD concept become the ultimate solution to how companies are run in the future? Take a look at the things that need to be addressed before a company goes blindly into allowing employee-owned mobile devices.
Before allowing an employee to hook up to the company network with their mobile device, there needs to be an implemented privacy system. Not every employee should have access to everything, and use of passwords will help prevent those from peering into accounts they shouldn’t see. This can be helped along by employees agreeing to a term-of-use plan that allows certain employees access to specific accounts. An acceptable use policy also should be adhered to.
Organizing Data on Mobile Devices
When employees bring their mobile devices to work, there’s going to be a mix of personal and business data stored nearly side by side. A policy has to be implemented that segments data so business data is separate from the personal. When the devices are shared, this also prevents others from peering in to personal information that shouldn’t be seen. Much of this can be dealt with using a management system where all the devices are monitored at once.
But how will that work in the instance of hacking becoming a very serious problem with the BYOD idea?
Working with IT to Alleviate Threats
Encryption is already being used on mobile devices in the workplace, despite sometimes being a cumbersome process. There’s also the issue of Wi-Fi in the office being hacked and the vulnerability of mobile devices having sensitive information compromised. An outsourced or in-house IT team needs to address these issues, no matter that hackers always seem to be ahead of the game.
It’s easy to be wowed by BYOD to a point where a company pays no attention to the real security threats mobile devices in the office face. Part of this also falls in employees going outside the range of the company firewall where their mobile devices would be an open book for cyber thieves.
Business Continuity Plans
Along with compromised data, a company should also worry about losing data in a natural disaster or other circumstance. It might be easy to think that a mobile device can be taken out of the office when a natural disaster strikes. However, there’s no guarantee of it being done. Just one lost mobile device could end up shutting down the company because it contains critical data.
There’s also the common problem of the mobile devices being stolen. A company should use tracking devices on all their mobile devices, plus consider using data wipe features found on some smartphones.
Regardless of the warnings, most of the above issues may never be perfected. It means companies will have to accept that some of their data will be compromised at times in exchange for technological convenience. Most of us have already accepted that philosophy while praying the compromised data doesn’t get used in a malicious way.