What Organizations Need to Consider Before Embracing BYOD

  • January 9, 2019

The present tech-savvy generation finds comfort and flexibility in using their personal devices for work purposes, and organizations are keen to adopt BYOD policy, for it increases productivity, reduces cost, and can be implemented at scale with the help of solutions like Mobile Device Management for BYOD.

BYOD comes with attractive benefits as well as implicit BYOD challenges, that an organization needs to consider before the implementation.

Here we are listing out the factors that you need to look at to know if BYOD is the right fit for your organization:

Productivity Expectation

Using personal devices for work gives employees enough flexibility to work on their assignments from any place and at any time. Also, a modern-day employee is tech-savvy and typically has high-end, advanced equipment, which impacts their performance.

Before bringing in BYOD, organizations need to identify if BYOD will significantly impact employee productivity. Key questions to ask are:

    1. How many employees work remotely?

 

    1. What is the average time spent by employees working at remote locations (while travelling, from home, on-site, client-side etc.)?

 

    1. What is average employee productivity at work location?

 

  1. What will be the effect of distractions from personal devices like the use of Facebook, WhatsApp etc.?

Seeking and comparing answers to these questions will help you identify if BYOD would really help improve the efficiency of your workforce.

Device Vulnerability

Allowing the same devices to use for personal and professional use can expose more vulnerabilities, thereby increasing threats to sensitive information and applications. Common device vulnerabilities are:

    1. Device loss or theft

 

    1. Employees downloading malicious software or application which can pose risks to the organization’s data

 

    1. Potential unpatched vulnerabilities at device or operating system level

 

  1. Connecting BYOD devices to unsafe open networks

However, there are ways to mitigate these risks. Mobile device management solutions allow IT teams to set up and implement stringent device usage policies. MDM for BYOD can help track and control registered devices remotely, wipe or clean sensitive data in case of loss or theft, install malware protection software to track and quarantine malicious activities.

More Endpoints More Problems

User devices these days are not limited to PCs, laptops, and smartphones. Smart tablets, Chromebooks, Wearables etc. have barged into corporate systems. Also, devices come in different configurations and operating systems.

Typically, you would want to track and manage all user devices that touched your corporate network. This is an uphill task for your IT team to identify different types of devices, locating them, managing and securing them.

The key challenge is to maintain network security, identifying non-compliant devices, and juggling disparate tools for different devices. Through a sturdy Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution you can get help to control and secure multiple different devices from a single console.

Perceived Risks

You will need to identify your system and network vulnerabilities, possible threats and analyze risks involved before integrating BYOD into the mainstream. Some risks may include:

    1. Accidental or intentional data theft, leaks, or access by employees.

 

    1. Exposure to a corporate network to malicious apps installed on BYOD devices.

 

  1. Remote employee login from unsafe networks or locations.

You will need to evaluate the damage (cost, data loss, brand image, etc.) should a risk become a reality. You will also need to put in place a risk management plan to mitigate or dissolve risks.

Shadow IT

Any technology (IT system) that is being used without the organization’s knowledge or consent is Shadow IT. Chances are your employees are already using their devices for work, for instance, accessing office email on their smartphone. Mostly these incidents happen without any malicious intent, still, they can introduce security threats.

You will need to identify shadow IT resources and define clear policies on how to use personal devices for work and ensure such devices are registered before use.

Compliance

Defining usage policies and setting standards on paper is achievable. But BYOD presents compliance challenges, and it is difficult to ensure that employees are following rules and guidelines prescribed. To ensure compliance you can:

    1. Conduct security training about BYOD and other security policies.

 

    1. Enter a signed BYOD pact with employees, which will make them aware and cautious of their actions.

 

  1. Guide employees to use necessary safeguards, like strong passwords, multi-factor authentication etc.

Legal Issues

BYOD will bring into picture legal issues when IT would need to gain access to employee devices or employees will need to access sensitive information. Legal complexities that could arise:

    1. Unintentional loss of data by an employee.

 

    1. Accessing personal information on employee device by IT while installing or updating corporate applications.

 

  1. Accidental modification or deletion of employees’ personal files.

Before rolling out BYOD, organizations need to set up robust policies and mechanism to avoid such issues and guidelines to handle exceptional events.

Employee Acceptance

Though employees prefer to use their own devices, they might be wary of IT administrator monitoring or tracking their devices. They may feel stifled or risk losing their privacy. Organizations need to ensure that the privacy of employees is not compromised while implementing BYOD security policies.

BYOD is a win-win for both employers and employees, provided a careful assessment is performed, unambiguous policies are developed, secure workflows are established, and employees are educated.

To know how Scalefusion BYOD Management is making a difference and providing support to businesses, visit us at scalefusion.com.

About the Author

Vandita is a passionate writer and IT enthusiast. By profession, she is a Computer Lecturer at the University of Delhi and has previously worked as a Software Engineer with Aricent Technologies.

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