Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the latest growing trend in which employees use their personal devices for work, be it a smartphone, tablet, or a laptop rather than requiring them to use company-owned devices. Simple, the organization has ownership of the corporate data that may be accessed or saved on a device, but the employee is the owns the device itself. BYOD solutions are becoming increasingly common as more companies support employees working from home, having flexible schedules, or connecting on the go when travelling or commuting. This trend is implied by connecting employees to their organization’s network to access and work through their own devices regularly.
Why is it useful?
BYOD is a win-win situation for both individuals and enterprises. Typically, a company will create a BYOD policy that addresses security concerns, the sorts of devices that are permitted, and other relevant factors. Before agreeing to a policy, employees should read and comprehend it. Employees may be required to install specific applications on their smartphones by their employers in some instances. The company may also require security measures to be installed on devices that access sensitive company data. Some businesses, for example, require software that wipes corporate data if it detects tampering. However, companies should keep an open mind for employees who may refuse to participate in a BYOD program if the mobile device management (MDM) policy requires that certain apps be blacklisted – in which case, BYOD may be best as an option and not the only feasible arrangement. It’s also common for policies to give employers remote access to their employees’ devices. Employees may seek a clearer separation between their work and personal lives with different devices for each.
There are significant benefits to bringing your own device; BYOD intends to:
- Provide end-users with the freedom to use devices they are acquainted with and more comfortable using.
- Reduce organizational overheads in terms of corporate device acquisition and provisioning.
- Allows for flexible (and possibly remote) working.
- Increase overall efficiency, hence mobile productivity.
- Empowering employees
Developing a BYOD Policy:
Before adopting a BYOD policy, an organization should:
- Determine its objectives (e.g., approved devices)
- Consider employees’ input
- Weigh out costs and risks
- Create the policy that best suits their values
- Provide BYOD training
- Establish security solutions (e.g., approved networks)
- Develop an employee exit strategy
IT departments must determine if and how to secure personal devices, as well as access levels. Above all, a specified BYOD security policy should advise and educate employees on how to use BYOD without jeopardizing company data or networks. Essential elements to consider while developing BYOD include approving types of devices, security and data ownership policies, and levels of IT support the company will provide to personal devices. There must be a balance between the company’s security and employees’ personal privacy on their devices.
The nature of working on your phone for work is rapidly increasing, and BYOD does sound like an ideal solution; however, the core of this phenomenon lies in developing a strong foundation of security measures to guarantee maximum confidentiality. Here are a few initial requirements that businesses may take to increase device security:
- Separate personal and business data, each with a different password, applications, and data
- Encrypt data to protect sensitive files in case of lost or stolen devices
- Educate employees on why the security measures are important for both parties’ benefit
- Blocklist specific file sharing apps or sites from devices
Nowadays, most companies are adopting a Unified Endpoint Model (UEM), which enables your IT department to combine all security programs into a single, centralized management solution.
Advantages and Solutions:
Adopting a contemporary trend like BYOD has some redeeming benefits to your organization such as:
- Increased employee job satisfaction
- Increased effectiveness and productivity
- Less time spent on hardware, software, and licensing from IT
There have also been some solutions to other alternatives that are similar to BYOD such as:
Corporate Owned Personally-Enables (COPE): company owns the device, but employees are free to personalize them.
Choose Your Own Device (CYOD): employees choose their desired device from a set of pre-approved corporate devices.
Bring Your Own Application (BYOA): Encouraging a third-party cloud-based application to pick their desired program.
Disadvantages, Challenges, and Risks:
Although BYOD’s conceptual goals are appealing to most businesses, it comes with a competing set of security threats and issues, some of which include:
- Data breaches if device is stolen or lost
- Lack of anti-virus software on employees’ personal devices
- Lack of network in external areas outside the organization
- Protecting the company’s corporate data and the employees’ personal privacy
- Extra IT support for a wide range of devices
- Ensuring all employees comply and are following all guidelines
It might be challenging to strike a balance between your company’s need to protect and keep control over its data and systems and the device owner’s need for usability and privacy. To ensure that a BYOD program works well for employees, it must be carefully designed. If the system makes life tough or causes a bad work/life balance, your staff may reject the BYOD strategy. One thing to question is, does a BYOD policy diminish or create additional stress for your employees and organization – while it could be a wonderful arrangement for some, the culture, line of business and size of the organization will help determine the answer for your organization and team members. Furthermore, there must be a clear policy highlighting who will oversee a lost or stolen device, how to retrieve leaked data, and how to manage a device that has been exposed to cybercrime.
In conclusion, whatever position your company takes on BYOD, it is crucial to fully understand and address it in a way that works best for both parties. Stressing on the security measures of a BYOD for your company’s safety is also vital, because if not done properly, there could be serious consequences. An ideal BYOD policy should cover everything from data breaches, to cybercrime, to privacy concerns, to accurately conducted exit strategies. In contrast, when and if BYOD is done right, it may help your employees work more effectively, creating a healthy work-life balance. This trend is also a smart option to consider due to the increased demand for remote work nowadays, as a result of the pandemic. What’s your take on BYOD? Do you use your own device at work? Do you encourage your employees to use their own devices? Are you finding it useful?