Whether you’re working at home or in the office, there will likely come a time when you want to quickly check some business-related details on a personal device, such as your laptop, phone or tablet.
And while there’s no denying that it’s convenient to have business data accessible on any of your devices, viewing that information on a personal device that isn’t protected with enterprise-level security can spell trouble for your employer. In turn, many companies acknowledge this risk and opt to create policies that prevent you from bringing your own device to work all together.
But before you decide on which approach is best for your business, here’s some of the BYOD movement’s pros and cons to keep in mind.
The Positive Aspects of BYOD
There are many reasons why an organization may opt to allow employees to bring their own devices. A few benefits for businesses and their teams include:
- Lowered technology costs for the company: BYOD allows companies to bypass nearly all technology device costs–including purchasing and maintaining devices and paying for monthly service fees.
- A productivity boost: Thirty-five percent of employees report feeling more productive when working on personal devices. Employees are often more comfortable and familiar with what their own devices can do–a key reason why productivity may increase with a BYOD policy.
- Happier Employees: When workers can use their personal devices, they are interacting with devices they already know how to operate. More likely than not, they like the way these devices work compared to other manufacturers and hardware. This can increase employee satisfaction with their work and lead to better retention rates.
Stay Vigilant to the Negatives of BYOD
While there are certainly notable benefits to a bring-your-own-device culture, there are also some important BYOD risks to be aware of. For starters, not everyone would prefer to use their own device for work purposes; some employees may want to keep devices for home and work uses separate.
Perhaps the biggest point of concern with this model has to do with BYOD cybersecurity issues. Because most organizations don’t deploy enterprise-level security software on employee-owned devices, BYOD devices can create some giant vulnerabilities in an organization’s network.
Security issues include factors like:
- Less employer control over antivirus software and other threat monitoring and detection solutions.
- Less security over company data when employees leave their position or are fired.
- No control over who the device and information is shared with outside the organization.
- More difficulty implementing software updates across the whole ecosystem of personal devices.
Safeguarding Your Network in the Era of BYOD
As you can tell, the risks associated with BYOD policies far outweigh the perks. Organizations that absolutely must have a BYOD policy should also have some kind of mandatory BYOD best practices protocol or employee agreement to ensure employees are keeping personal devices secure. To keep company data and networks protected, these agreements must include stringent provisions that many employees and their organizations may find to be too impractical.
Organizations looking to safeguard their data with BYOD policy best practices should consider protections like:
- Utilizing secure WiFi connections and mandatory WPA2 routers (even at home) for any devices that access company networks or store company data.
- Maintaining a list of acceptable devices for personal use based on which devices are more secure.
- Requiring employees to update all operating systems, software, and applications as soon as security updates are available.
- Installing antivirus software on all personal devices used for work purposes.
- Enabling multi-factor authentication across all devices to keep bad actors out of company networks.
- Implementing approved use requirements, explicitly stating how personal devices can be used and which applications and software programs are or are not allowed.
- Sharing cybersecurity training opportunities with employees to help them know how to keep devices secure and spot potential phishing attempts.
Regardless of the BYOD policy you create, deploying a guest network is always a good idea. With a guest network, your organization can separate the personal devices of employees from the primary network and its data. In turn, employees can connect to the guest network to view non-sensitive information and perform basic functions when needed. And, should their personal device somehow be compromised, you can rest assured that hackers aren’t able to spread through your primary network.
Take On Enterprise-Wide Cybersecurity with Ideal IT
Understanding the risks that personal devices bring to a network, organization’s trust Rocket IT’s Ideal IT solution to help them craft a BYOD policy that balances accessibility alongside security.
With Ideal IT, security isn’t just about protecting your organization from threats; it’s about using IT to meet your unique business goals. Make the most of your operations with smart solutions that avoid the risks present in BYOD strategies. Request a consultation today!