In our last blog article, we introduced the IT trend of employees bringing in their personal devices to work (BYOD). We looked at 5 ways BYOD can help your business, but BYOD is not without risks. In part 2, we will cover five risks BYOD brings to your company’s network and what you can to do manage them.
A Misplaced or Stolen Device
A small mobile device is easy to lose and easy to steal, and when a lost device is full of your company’s sensitive information, then your organization will be at serious risk of a data breach. It has been estimated that 160,000 phones are lost or stolen every day in the United States alone. There are a few preventative security measures you can install on your phone to ensure a novice thief will be locked out of your information, like file encryption or fingerprint locks, but a serious hacker will be able to get past most security measures when in possession of the phone.
Malware is not limited to workstations. Malware is also prevalent on mobile devices, and if a device gets infected while it’s connected to your company’s network, then the infection can spread all over your network; additionally, employees using their own personal devices for work will download files onto their phone that they might be inclined to download on company-owned workstation. Therefore, businesses with BYOD are more at risk from a malicious virus and will require a heavy duty network security solution.
Work Time Encroaching on Personal Time
One of the advantages of BYOD is that employees are easier to get ahold of. As a boss, you may be tempted to call an employee after closing time, and you may think nothing of it because you are talking with them on the same device you use to communicate with them at work; but, too much off-the-clock communication can complicate employee expectations, and possibly result in a lawsuit for unpaid work. You can manage this BYOD risk by making sure you and your staff are on the same page in regards to off-hours communications.
Social Media Risks are Enhanced
An employee with a smartphone is likely logged on to social media throughout the workday. If you are trying to get the most productivity possible out of your workers, then BYOD may not be the most productive move, due to the distracting nature of social media and other time-wasting apps. Additionally, if your employee is hot tempered and you two have a argument, they may be tempted to air their grievances with you and the company on Facebook using their easily accessible device.
Too Many Different Devices Challenge Security
A business that allows for BYOD may be overwhelmed with all the different devices their employees bring to work. One of the difficulties about BYOD is that every model of device presents unique risks to your network’s security. You will want to have a strong security solution in place to fully cover every different model of device that accesses your network, which means your network administrator will have to work extra hard to keep up with all the different models. One sure way to manage this risk is to provide employees with a device that is owned by the company. This way, you will be in control of what devices access your network, making sure you won’t be caught off guard when a new virus-ridden bargain bin device bypasses your firewall.
Before you implement BYOD for your business, you will need to consider these risks and set up solutions to manage them. Going through the extra effort to address the security challenges of BYOD will make you ask yourself if the benefits of BYOD outweigh the risks (see our previous blog article to review the five benefits of BYOD). If you would like to have a deeper discussion about the benefits and risks of BYOD in order to find out if this trend is right for your business, then call Think Tank NTG at 800-501-DATA.