Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a growing trend in businesses today—one that is only expected to continue. Consider these forecasts:

  • 38% of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016.*
  • By 2018, 70% of mobile professionals will conduct work on personal devices.**

BYOD offers many benefits to employees and employers alike. However, before your company adopts a BYOD policy, it’s important you put the right measures in place to secure your most important asset: your data. Read on to understand BYOD, its benefits and challenges, and what your company should do to protect itself.

What is BYOD?

BYOD is an IT policy in which businesses allow employees to utilize their personal devices to access enterprise data and systems. Devices may include smartphones, tablets and laptops.

How do companies benefit from BYOD?

BYOD has been show to provide:

  • Increased productivity: According to ReadWrite, 49% of U.S. IT managers believe BYOD improves worker productivity. Employees are using a device they are familiar with and know. As a result, there’s less lost time or frustration trying to get the device to function as needed.
  • Decreased savings: A PC World article noted that, with employees paying for most, or all, of the costs for the hardware and voice and/or data services, companies can save as much as $80 per month per user.

How does BYOD benefit employees?

Higher satisfaction and better work-life balance are the top employee benefits. With BOYD, employees can consolidate work and personal devices and use the ones they prefer. Employees also enjoy greater convenience as they combine their work and personal devices. Everything they need is all contained on one smartphone or laptop, for example.

What are the challenges of BYOD?

There can be some challenges regarding the type of hardware and operating system version. With more than one type of device in place, the IT department will need to be well versed on these devices so they can provide support and service.

However, the most significant challenge with BYOD is, by far, security of a company’s private data. An IBM survey found that 71% of CEOs and IT managers rank security as their most significant mobile enterprise challenge. Even more, 53% of information users use their own personal devices for work; install unsupported software; or use unsupported Internet based services like Dropbox, Skype, Twitter or Facebook to help them do their jobs.**

With BYOD, it’s not about the security of the device as much as it’s about security of the data. Anytime an employee uses their own device and is allowed to access company data, they are accessing the company’s network/servers. The company is at risk if there’s a data breach, lost or stolen phone, or termination of employment.

How you can protect your company?

Before launching a BYOD model, you need to establish:

  • A clearly defined policy for BYOD that outlines expectations, minimum security requirements and company-sanctioned security tools
  • A mobile enterprise system that is flexible enough to control connections to a variety of devices
  • Governance for how data will be retrieved from the personal laptop and/or smartphone in the event of employee termination

A BYOD platform and policy should be supported by technology solutions that are specifically designed to protect company data from being compromised. Some of the leading security solutions for companies include:

  • Remote swipe
  • Data encryption
  • Passcode enforcement
  • MDM (mobile device management)
  • Containment/containerization
  • Application control

There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The layers of security your company needs will depend on IT goals as well as the systems and network already in place.

Call to action

As a full-service technology company, The Brookfield Group specializes in securing company networks and, more importantly, data. We can help your company analyze how BYOD would impact them and determine the best technology solutions to improve efficiency, save costs and boost employee morale—all without increasing security risk. Contact The Brookfield Group for more information or a free consultation.

*http://www.gartner.com/technology/home.jsp

**http://www.forrester.com/home/

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