BYOD is Here To Stay But Is it the Right Choice For Your Business?
Mobile minutes now account for 75% of consumer internet usage according to Fortune magazine. That mobile tidal wave has been surging over into the IT business world with incredible momentum as employees and enterprises discover the convenience of BYOD. For CEOs and business owners, the "first glance" attractions are clear. The most frequently cited enticements for BYOD include:
- Reducing the IT equipment budget since there is no need to issue company-owned employee-specific devices such as laptops or desktops.
- Increased productivity when employees can work anytime and anywhere with devices they are comfortable using.
- Less stress on the IT staff since employees are responsible for maintenance and updates of their own devices.
That's the typical bullet point pitch in favor of BYOD for enterprises, directing a laser-like focus to cost savings and profit increases with the promised boosts in productivity, employee happiness, and satisfaction. Of course, discerning decision makers are right to be skeptical about these "pro-BYOD" bullet points. Upon closer evaluation, with network security and risk assessment factored into the equation, BYOD may be a bullet which is best dodged for your specific enterprise or organization. BYOD is far from a "one-size-fits-all" business solution.
BYOD can undoubtedly be a boost for enterprises where company reps spend the majority of their time working out of the office, or for companies seeking to expand their telecommuting workforces rapidly. However, that does not necessarily make it the wisest choice for every organization. Any experienced CIO can easily convert the "pro BYOD" bullet points into "cons" when they are considered from a real-world IT perspective. Security Magazine aptly balances the BYOD equation with their 2016 article titled "Bring Your Own Risk With BYOD."
Some of the potential issues which need to be considered before implementing a BYOD policy include:
- Consequences of physical theft or loss of a device loaded with sensitive digital information
- Mixing of personal and business data
- Negligent security practices such as storing enterprise passwords on mobile devices and software
- Data breaches, leaks, and data loss via the personal device
- Compromised Device integrity- A user may root an Android smartphone or jailbreak an iPhone to remove software restrictions.
- Loss of centralized enterprise control of business data which is transmitted, processed and stored on multiple personal devices
- Increased risk landscape- Hackers tend to target personal mobile devices in search of personally identifiable information. BYOD opens multiple pathways to sensitive company data.
Once the risk assessment process and your due diligence have verified that BYOD can benefit the enterprise there are solutions to minimizing BYOD risk to optimize the benefits and convenience that mobile devices provide. BYOD policy should be developed in a coordinated effort including the business owners, the IT team, the legal team for e-discovery, insurance, and compliance issues, and of course your network security professionals.
Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)
As BYOD continues to expand a variety of EMM solutions, have become available. Effective EMM enables safer BYOD deployment and includes virtual environments, data classification, virtual container approaches, device integrity scanning, and stronger encryption and authentication. At Total Computer Solutions, we have the IT expertise to help you choose and implement the most appropriate and cost-effective BYOD policies and practices for your business or organization.
Remote Workstation Security at Total Computer Solutions
Maintaining security oversight for your business in the age of BYOD can be quite a challenge. When employees are working remotely, their devices may never physically connect to your home office network. Confirming that everyone complies and are up to date with security patches, software, and antivirus definitions can minimize risk and augment smooth business operations, but it's not a simple task.
Any business with a large number of small offices, a salesforce distributed across the country or around the world, or large amounts of telecommuting employees working from devices at home can benefit from the Remote Workstation Security programs at Total Computer Solutions, so don't hesitate to contact us.