How Safe Is Your BYOD Program?

How Safe Is Your BYOD ProgramYou’d be hard-pressed to go into any office in the world and not find employees using mobile devices to access their work. Smartphones and tablets allow people to work from anywhere more easily than traditional desktop computers.

That ease of use and work-from-anywhere functionality has driven up the percentage of task management that mobile devices handle. For example, Microsoft estimates that mobile devices actually do about 80% of the workload in an office. Part of the reason is that employees often read and respond to work emails from their smartphones.

The need to use mobile devices for work has led to companies adopting what is known as a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. It allows employees to use their personal smartphones and other devices for work. Some businesses may provide a stipend to compensate employees for work-related mobile plan use.

For a long time, BYOD specifically meant smartphones. Then tablets were added into the mix as the iPad’s popularity rose. But another big digital transition has happened due to the global pandemic. A large number of the workforce is now working from home either part or full-time.

58% of Americans work from home either full or part-time. 

The remote workforce poses another type of BYOD – computers and laptops. They often use their own devices when working remotely, which means companies have more endpoints than ever that may not be in their control.

BYOD Advantages

BYOD has a lot of advantages. For example, it’s less expensive for companies to compensate employees for the use of their own devices at work than it is to purchase all those devices for their team.

Additionally, there is the convenience factor. Employees often don’t like having to carry two mobile phones around all day – personal and work. It’s usually easier to just use their own, which they’re familiar with.

There’s also the difference in technology. Companies often don’t upgrade their technology at the same pace as individuals. Forbes found that 61% of Gen Y workers and 50% of those over 30 believe that the technology they use in their personal lives is better than that issued by their company.

BYOD allows those employees to use the best technology, which fosters a more productive environment.

BYOD Disadvantages

Security, Security, Security!

The number one disadvantage of using a bring-your-own-device program is the security risk if you don’t run the program according to best practices.

Too many companies don’t even know all the employee devices connecting to their network and cloud data. They don’t track user logins and aren’t backing up company data on employee phones, tablets, or computers.

The risk of a breach is high with any endpoint that isn’t properly managed or monitored. It’s even higher when it’s completely out of company control and visibility.

Some of the biggest security concerns that surveyed organizations have about BYOD are:

  • Data leak (63%)
  • Users downloading malicious apps (57%)
  • Devices being lost or stolen (55%)
  • Unauthorized access to company data and systems (53%)
  • Malware infection from a device (52%)
  • Unable to control endpoint security (47%)
  • Regulatory compliance (34%)

What Should You Do To Improve the Safety of BYOD?

It’s not feasible for most small or mid-sized businesses to do away with BYOD altogether and switch to company-owned devices. But you can take steps to run a BYOD program more securely, so you can enjoy the benefits and minimize the disadvantages.

Here are some of the steps that our Quantum Technologies cybersecurity experts suggest. 

Write Down Your BYOD Policy

Do you just let employees use their personal devices, but don’t really have a rulebook for them to go by? If so, you’re not alone. Quite a few companies neglect to create an official BYOD policy.

This causes security issues and sticky situations around things like compensation and what happens if an employee’s device is used by someone other than them.

Create a BYOD policy and put it in a manual or guide. Include details on how employees need to secure devices (e.g., screen lock), what company data can be stored on that device, etc.

You will also want to lay out clearly any compensation that the company is providing for the employee’s use of their own device for work. This helps to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

Use an Endpoint Device Manager

An endpoint device manager is the best way to secure a BYOD program. It is an application that is downloaded onto the device that allows the company to monitor and track the “business side” of the contents on that phone, tablet, or PC. 

Using an endpoint device manager makes it simple to do things like:

  • Send automatic software updates
  • Authorize and unauthorize device access to your network
  • Locate, lock, or wipe a lost or stolen device
  • Protect the work data that is on that device
  • Monitor employee-owned device access to your data
  • Manage all endpoints from one centralized dashboard

Use a Business VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is an application that sits between the device and the internet at large. When the employee connects to send or receive data online, the connection is routed through the VPN provider’s servers and encrypted.

This helps improve data security when you can’t control the security of the Wi-Fi the employee may be connecting to when working away from the office. Business VPNs are easy to use and can be used on smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Don’t Do BYOD Without the Right Security!

Quantum Technologies can help your Sturgeon Bay area business put an affordable and easy-to-use endpoint management solution in place to improve cybersecurity.

Contact us today to learn more! Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.