June 19, 2013
BYOD Adoption Reveals Enhanced Employee Productivity, yet Security Concerns Remain
By Daniel Brecht
There has been a growing influx of companies allowing personal devices into the workplace; businesses are letting their employees have access to corporate and customer data so they can do their jobs on the go, from anywhere and at any time. Surely, in today's fast-paced world, being mobile plays a major part in getting more work done at a much faster pace; operatives can be more productive as they can work on the move and can do work-related tasks and collaborate in real-time. However, unprotected and unmanaged mobile devices present new challenges for employers: They are vulnerable to significant risks that can potentially outweigh benefits, IT experts say.
Bring your own device (BYOD) policies do have their pros: They can drive corporate productivity and benefit workplace efficiency. BYOD can offer flexibility and boost job satisfaction: BYOD, in fact, can present a positive impact on work-life balance and employees report being happier and more satisfied in their work place when their own personal devices are adopted. Customer service is also enhanced, as employees “on the field” can assist clients in real-time by tapping on the company’s data and resources.
Most employers appreciate BYOD as they can reduce costs by not having to supply employees with mobile devices when needed; however, the enterprise should always understand the consequences of widespread adoption when executing a BYOD program, as there are security risks and concerns as well as implementation challenges that complicate regulatory compliance for data security.
Since a majority of employees have been found to frequently store sensitive data on personal mobile devices, there is always the risk that they could end up in the wrong hands if unprotected, or should the device be lost.
To overcome some of the cons related to BYODs and security dilemmas, companies of all industries and sizes should ensure compliance with data-related regulations before integrating employee-owned laptops, tablets and smartphones in the office. In addition, they must take the necessary steps to have the devices supervised by IT administrators who can make use of management apps to control the physical device itself. They should also install a software authentication solution to tackle security issues.
As more and more corporate data is stored in or accessed by personal mobile devices, BYOD policies are too important to ignore. Mobile device management (MDM) and security management as well as applying security practices are paramount. This is crucial in order to prepare for the likelihood of data loss incidents or, worse, outside threats or attacks caused by improperly secured personal devices.
The necessary steps toward managing and protecting personal and business data is a top priority, but so is not viewing BYOD only as a potential risk to the enterprise’s network. With the right security measures, adequate data protection, policies and governance in place to address human factor risks, along with properly managing the devices, it will become easier to prevent the organization from becoming a data breach victim and a primary target of malicious hackers.
Regardless of the potential risks, BYOD seems to be a favorite in today’s companies. According to a "Cisco (News - Alert) IBSG Horizons Study" report, for example, 76 percent of IT leaders see it as a positive program in their companies. It suggested the program works as testified by companies like the international financial firm UBS and even government entities like the State of Delaware that are successfully implementing BYOD for their workforce and have already discovered the benefits of it.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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