Pros & Cons of BYOD

Question

What steps should I take if I am going to allow my employees to use their personal smartphones and tablets on my company network?

- Sam

Answer

This question was answered on January 14, 2013. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

One of the newest trends in business technology that’s impacting all businesses is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Companies around the world are empowering their employees to use their personal laptops, tablets and smartphones to do their work However, it’s important to identify if it’s the right decision for you and your business There many pro’s and con’s to BYOD that should be considered before giving your employees free reign with their personal electronics on your corporate network.

Pros

- Using their own devices allows for employee flexibility to work in a way that optimizes their productivity.

- There is something to be said for virtualization Your employees will be able to work no matter where they are allowing them to address urgent issues out of office.

- Allowing your employees to have their own devices can lower overhead by passing along the purchase and upkeep costs of devices to employees

- With the constantly changing of software and technology, it’s difficult for businesses to keep up on a large scale Typically employees will have better personal tech than you can provide at work Additionally, this will empower your employees to find new and better ways to do their work with new software and apps.

Cons

- Security is always a factor when your employees work on a supervised network Here are a few security issues to be aware of:

- Information security (operating system compromise due to malware, device misuse, and information spillover risks)

- Operational security (personal devices may divulge information about a user when conducting specific activities in certain environments)

- Transmission security (protections to mitigate transmission interception)

- It happens: they leave their phone at a restaurant, their tablet is left in their car and it ends up in the wrong hands Lost, stolen and damaged devices can result in stolen data, lost projects, missing information and so much more.

- Without the same information, tools and software on their mobile devices employees may have their own devices but really remain involuntarily out of touch Just because they are working outside the office doesn’t mean work is getting done.

Ultimately, having personal devices in the workplace is unavoidable What is most important are the systems you have in place to protect your business, data, server and more.

- Have a strategy for how your company will deal with BYOD, including a plan for lost, stolen and fired employees to protect your data

- (A great resource for a BYOD startegy can be found here: http://www.mobileiron.com/en/solutions/bring-your-own-device-byod)

- Educate employees on device safety including passwords, locking devices and cyber attacks that can happen on devices.

- Backing-up: Just like it is important for all computers to back-up information, it is just as important for to backup contacts, email addresses, images and anything else that is stored on mobile devices regularly.

- Remote wipe software: While employees may not like the idea of losing all their information (hence regular backing-up) but in the event a device is stolen or lost a remote whip might be necessary to protect your company's data.

- BYOD is a privilege in the workplace; make sure you and your employee’s information and devices are protected Just like having to add a social media policy to your human resources paperwork, make sure your BYOD policy is in place with expectations, replacement and mandatory installation of remote wipe and monitoring software on all devices.

More resources to help you understand BYOD issues:

General overview of Bring Your Own Device

- http://www.whitehouse.gov/digitalgov/bring-your-own-device

BYOD Quickly Becomes BYOM: Bring Your Own Malware

- http://mashable.com/2012/10/23/bring-your-own-malware

Out-of-Office Workers Not as Productive

- http://mashable.com/2012/06/16/telecommuters-not-productive

Making Sure "Bring Your Own Device" Doesn't Blow Up In Your Face

- http://www.fastcompany.com/3000560

Bring your own device, but who owns your data?

- http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/17/byod-data-wipe

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on January 14, 2013