16 September 2014

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – Friend or Foe?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is where employees use their own devices to access and manipulate company information and processes.


“Bring Your Own Device commonly referred to as BYOD refers to the corporate policy of allowing employees to bring personal devices into the workplace and to allow those devices to access privileged information“

Essentially BYOD is where employees use their own devices to access and manipulate company information and processes. It is the process of companies opening up their systems for the purposes of easier integration and access for its employees.

Who really benefits by companies having a Bring Your Own Device policy, the company, the employee, or both?

Traditionally your company would supply all the ‘tools’ that its employees need to do their jobs. From the hardware to the software and of course the seat and desk to sit at. This has steadily been changing over the last number of years with the concept of ‘hot desk’ where an employee can literally be assigned to a different desk each day.  Bring Your Own Device takes this one step further by allowing employees to use their own equipment.

But what has happened to drive this trend?

In recent times the explosive growth in smartphone and tablet ownership and with it the general increase in consumerism, employees are becoming (and prefer to be) more mobile. Business IT departments have come under ever increasing pressure to let their employees choose what devices they use to do their work on, as these are the devices which they are more familiar with and hence lower the technology barriers and increase productivity.

The really interesting thing about Bring Your Own Device is that it is consumer driven as opposed to being driven by business. This is a total reversal of trend and marks an interesting move away from company driven architecture to a more open-ended technology structure. But what does this mean in practice and what effect will this have on how companies work in the future?

There are inherent benefits in Bring Your Own Device but there are also many risks!

Risks!

There are some risks for a company that implements Bring Your Own Device. These include:

  1. If the employee leaves the company and takes the data from their devices with them.
  2. If the employee loses the device with sensitive data on it may cost more to integrate and support a diverse range of devices, especially those that are Android based.
  3. Not having a Bring Your Own Device policy in place adds to confusion of what is allowed and not allowed.

Benefits!

  • There are many benefits for companies in having a BYOD policy
  • Increased employee productivity with the employee being more comfortable using their own devices as they are often more cutting edge
  • Allows for increased flexibility to work from anywhere
  • There could be cost savings for the company by having reduced spending on hardware, as this is passed onto the employee

What should you consider before adopting Bring Your Own Device?

  • Personal cost – Some employees will be unwilling or unable to invest their own money on devices. As mobile devices replace traditional company devices employees may expect the company to supply these.
  • Increased Employee Satisfaction due to the employee only needing to look after one device
  • The potential cost savings for a company due to reduced hardware spend
  • The first step in securing devices is to implement security passcodes. Without passcodes the device will be unacceptably unsecure.
  • Another important feature is Remote Wipe. We often recommend and implement Remote wipe so that when an employee leaves a company or the device is lost the data can be removed from the device.

Implementing a Bring Your Own Device policy!

It is important for any company considering implementing BYOD to fully consider how and when their network is exposed to the risks associated with employees using their own devices to access company information. It is highly recommended that companies put into place a BYOD policy and include at least some of the following:

Encryption of sensitive data – the communication of data between the device and the company network should be encrypted to ensure third parties cannot intercept it.
Where necessary prevent local storage – this is relevant where the data is sensitive and should be available for a short time only.

Implement a scalable policy – the real attraction of Mobility software is the ability to scale to many devices. It should be possible to scale any mobility software solution.
Use stronger authentication mechanisms (such as 2 step verification) to ensure employees are who they say they are

Here at Gravity we help our clients to implement BYOD systems including the security and Internet policies that go hand in hand with it. We feel that clients need to feel both comfortable and secure when opening up their networks for devices that are not directly under their control. We help clients gain more security by implementing a system of unique identifiers so that systems (devices and networks) can talk securely.

At Gravity we help clients work smarter, better and more securely. We believe that many companies look to IT professionals to help them implement not only the Enterprise software to help them mobilise their solution but also the security and infrastructure to allow it to scale.

All in all BYOD is about being innovative and helping your employees to work better and smarter. We offer Enterprise Mobility with security and scalability so that our clients can be sure that their data is not only secure but is accessible to their employees when and where needed.

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