How To Stay Secure When Allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

We live in a world where many modern organisations encourage or allow their staff to bring their own devices (or BYOD) into the workplace. This growing trend provides many advantages. It’s part and parcel of the 24/7 online world. It empowers a mobile workforce with users that are familiar and comfortable using their own devices. And as we are seeing more and more, positive user experience is the key to successful technology adoption within an organisation.

But it also comes with its own red flags. So, why should you have a BYOD strategy top of your hitlist for 2020? And how do you go about creating a robust BYOD strategy?

BYOD facts

It’s true, the days of a fixed workstation are rapidly disappearing into the mist. Aside from working from portable devices more and more, an increasing amount of businesses are implementing a hot desk work environment.

The facts speak for themselves. According to a recent article by Forbes, 61% of Gen Y believe their own personal tech tools are more efficient and productive than those used in their workplace. And companies that favour BYOD makes an annual saving of $350 a year, per head. It’s figures like these that show the growing trend for BYOD, riven by both employees and businesses.  

BYOD risks

But there are risks. Obvious ones include security, potential cyber hacks, and malware. No business wants to open its doors to potential attacks. And with 59% of companies already allowing employees to use their own devices, and 13% planning to do so in the next year, the opportunity for attacks is ever present.

Then there are other overarching questions. Such as what happens when an employee leaves, but still has all the systems on their own device? Or, how do you minimise security risks if a personal device is stolen?   

Building your BYOD strategy

There’s plenty to consider if you’re encouraging a BYOD culture. Even if you’re not, you’ll need to manage personal device use in the business. That all comes down to creating and promoting a BYOD strategy.

Covering the major business risks is one thing. But you’ll also need to communicate this clearly to all employees, so everyone knows where their responsibilities lie. Your BYOD policy will probably include something along the following:

  • Acceptable use – outlining how personal devices should be used within the business, app and website exclusions, and access to company resources.
  • Devices – which devices are permitted and supported by the IT department.
  • Reimbursement details – how much the company will contribute to the running of the device
  • Security stipulations – covering off passwords, apps, PINs and wiping data where necessary.
  • Disclaimers – Policies regarding issues such as lost devices, disconnecting devices where necessary, disciplinary action and personal data rights.  

It goes without saying, that as a legal document, it’s important to get the details right in your policy and tailor it to your business.

In conclusion

BYOD is a reality in the modern workplace. Many businesses are encouraging it as a trend, and with mobile workforces, and remote working becoming more common, it makes sense. It does offer supreme benefits in a flexible working environment. But the risks connected to BYOD are trickier to manage than on work-owned devices.

If you’re a business promoting BYOD, you’ll need a solid policy in place to protect the company and your employees. Even if you don’t support a BYOD work ethic, you’ll need to make this clear to your staff. This still comes back to creating a robust BYOD policy. For all these reasons, make it your aim to teach every employee what BYOD stands for this year.