Risks of BYOD to Company Data and Employee Hardware

    The growing trends of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) solutions are providing more significant results than anticipated, to the consumerization of the IT department of any small, medium and large sized businesses. The trend is driven more by the preference of the consumer, and less about any initiative from the company. However, there are significant advantages, with associated risks, for any company that is willing to adopt BYOD policies.

    With the ability to utilize a personally-owned smart phone or mobile device to gain access to the company’s server and applications, employee productivity is on the rise. For the company, allowing the employee to use their own mobile device can save significant amounts on monthly mobile expenses for the business, and eliminates the need to provide the tool for any employee in the workplace. However, many IT departments recognize that personally-owned smart phone technology was never designed with the requirements of enterprise security in mind. As a result, the seemingly inherent risks associated with using employee-owned devices, dedicated company IT teams are often reluctant to support the idea.

    With security in the forefront, IT departments need to develop trust models that are built on legal liability prior to implementing BYOD policies.

    Building Trust Models

    The simplest way to build trust models is to incorporate access-restricted policies. These safeguards can be developed for specific employees or groups allowing them to only gain access to the software, files, folders and crucial data specific to their position within the organization.

    Actions to Avoid Risks

    By taking specific actions, companies can avoid or at least diminish the potential of risks created by allowing employees to use their own devices for logging on to the company intranet. These actions include:

    • Develop Remediation Solutions – By developing remediation solutions including access control, selective wipe, quarantine, and notifications, companies can manage compliance issues in the event of a potential compromise of data. It might involve a complete wipe of all information on the mobile device, or an action that is less severe.
    • Develop Tiered Guidelines – By allowing mobile access into the company intranet, online cloud and the server, the IT department will need to develop tiered guidelines. These guidelines should detail the distribution of applications and the protocol for security and privacy. 
    • Establish User ID Protocols – With a high flexibility of choosing devices, the need for confirming identities and the use of multi-factor authentication becomes a more essential component to maintaining privacy and security of the company’s confidential data.
    • Evaluating Policy Effectiveness – Once the policies, protocols and guidelines are implemented, it takes a continuing evaluation to determine their effectiveness. The evaluation should include any impact of the employee’s experience in any trade-off required. If the usage restrictions are too extensive, the trade-off for the employee to use their own personal device might be too high to allow the policy to remain sustainable.

    Allowing your employees to use their own devices to access your company data can be incredibly effective if implemented properly. Secure access must be of utmost concern when implementing these kinds of policies.

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