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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – a corporate policy allowing employees to use their own personal devices such as smart phones and laptops, to access work-related data and applications — has become increasingly popular in the corporate world over the past few years, with some form of BYOD in practice at 83% of companies. While BYOD has numerous benefits, including increased productivity and employee satisfaction, it also comes with its own set of challenges.
Consider that only 51% of employees say they’re required to follow certain security policies, and more than 17% say they use their own devices without reporting it to IT.
In this post, we’ll look at the top 5 risks that companies face in today’s BYOD environment, as well as what mitigations strategies can be put in place.
#1: Security risks
One of the most significant challenges of implementing a BYOD policy are the security risks associated with such liberties. Personal devices may not have the same level of security as company-owned devices, and employees may not be aware of security best practices. A lost or stolen device can lead to a data breach, which can be devastating for any organization. Companies would also be wise to implement strict security protocols, such as device encryption, remote wipe, and two-factor authentication, to minimize the risk of data breaches.
#2: Device management
Managing a fleet of company-owned devices is relatively straightforward, but managing a wide range of personal devices can be challenging. Companies must ensure that employees keep their devices up to date with the latest software patches and security updates. They must also monitor device usage to ensure that employees are not accessing unauthorized applications or websites. Device management can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive task, especially for larger organizations.
#3: Compliance issues
Compliance is a critical concern for any organization, and a BYOD policy can present compliance issues company wide. Companies must ensure that personal devices meet specific security and privacy requirements, such as encryption and data retention policies. They must also ensure that employees are aware of compliance regulations, such as GDPR and HIPAA, and are following the necessary procedures to remain compliant.
#4: Data ownership
BYOD policies can raise questions about data ownership. If an employee leaves the company, who owns the data on their personal device? Loss and theft are also things that companies must take into account. If a device is stolen, is the data on the device at risk? Companies must establish clear policies regarding data ownership and security and ensure that employees understand their responsibilities regarding company data.
#5: Cost management
BYOD policies can lead to cost savings for organizations, but they can also lead to additional costs. Companies must ensure that employees are not abusing company resources, such as data plans and software licenses. They must also consider the cost of implementing and maintaining a BYOD policy, including device management, security protocols, and compliance efforts. Often large companies are given group rates on data plans so paying for an employee’s monthly phone bill could prove to be very expensive in the long run.
How to mitigate BYOD risks
BYOD is here to stay, with employers generating $350 of value per mobile employee. And with a more comprehensive BYOD environment, Cisco estimates this value to rise to $1,650 per mobile employee. Being proactive is the key to mitigating BYOD risks. We’ve seen excellent success when organizations establish clear policies and protocols, as well as identify in advance how they will regularly monitor for vulnerabilities.