What is BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device)?

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The Bring-Your-Own-Device revolution is taking over companies everywhere.  In an effort to reduce costs and raise productivity, enterprises are asking their employees to use their personal devices to conduct company business.

The trend extends to laptops.  It means that companies shell out less for technology and mobility, as employees use the supports they feel most comfortable with to get the job done.

But line item costs aside, what are the security costs associated with the trend?  If enterprises aren’t fully aware of these, their systems can be imperiled, as countless devices in service can be convenient portals for cyber mischief.

Sophisticated technology.

It’s increasingly the case that individual employees bring highly sophisticated tablets, devices and laptops to the party.  These are expensive gadgets that few IT departments can afford to put in the hands of multiple employees.

The aspect of employee autonomy is attractive for many employees, but it might also be viewed as a sophisticated technological Trojan Horse.  While not threatening in and of themselves, devices which aren’t part of a business network can also be the bearers of some very bad news.

Material benefits.

BYOD comes with a lot of features attractive to both employers and employees.  Autonomy is one.  Flexibility is another.  With the use of a personal device, employees have their personal and work spheres aligned, making life a little less complicated.

Productivity is also served, because employees are enabled to have everything in one device.  Their work satisfaction increases, because work becomes easier, regardless of whether they’re in the office or not.

But the downside needs your attention.

Red flags.

With personal devices in play, security can be compromised, placing applications and IT systems in peril.  Users lose their devices, sometimes.  With limited password protection in place, what does that mean for your corporate data?

There’s no doubt that BYOD presents a profound challenge to employers, even with all the attendant benefits.  Imperatives for companies include insuring that their cyber security measures are robust enough to neutralize threats via these devices.

You’re also looking a huge variety of potential devices which have access.  That can be complicated to manage and may increase IT costs.

Policy.

Safeguarding your enterprise’s reputation is one of the chief imperatives of creating BYOD policy.  By clearly defining how personal devices are to be integrated into your business systems, there are no grey areas.  Educating employees who use personal technology is a key support of any policy you put in place, as well as ensuring robust security both on your end and among BYOD devices.

BYOD represents a critical sea change in the way companies approach the brave new world of employee mobility and technology.  The advantages of the trend are many, but so are the challenges.  Your job is to enshrine policies and procedures which take full advantages of the benefits, while minimizing potential threats.

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