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Over 600 Million BYOD Employees Worldwide: Do Your Existing Policies Keep Your Company Safe?

by / Wednesday, 17 December 2014 / Published in News

With the holiday season in full force, you may find a few new threats to your network. Everyone loves bringing their new computer, tablet or cellular device to the office to put it good use. So, how can you ensure your company stays safe?

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) This is a massive phenomenon in business today, according to the Gartner research firm. Half of the companies they surveyed planned to move exclusively to BYOD by 2017. It makes sense to let employees use their preferred phones, computers, and tablets. Giving them additional company-owned devices only complicates the matter.

Holiday device boom. The 4th quarter of 2014 brought a variety of new toys into the market that will undoubtedly show up in offices around the world. A survey from Webroot published this year showed that 61 percent of companies had employees using personal smartphones or tablets for work-related activities.

Post-holiday BYOD problems. If your company allows mobile devices and personal computing equipment, but does little to manage them you may see a significant increase in IT costs. It is common for users bringing outside devices to the workplace to save information to their personal cloud, plug their personal devices into their computers at work to transfer files or charge their battery. While these things may seem like harmless acts, they can actually lead to very expensive security breaches or infections.

1/3 of employees don’t have any security in place!
Webroot, a Colorado-based Internet security company, found that one-third of employees using their devices for work don’t actually have any security installed on them. Companies worry that the devices could include apps or links that make the device vulnerable to hackers and data leakage or loss of the entire device with everything on it.

How can we let employees use the technology they already own while keeping company data and systems secure? A private phone or tablet used for work may contain company passwords and proprietary information. Take steps to create and enforce a BYOD policy for your organization and review it annually or more with all of your employees.

Build a good BYOD policy for your company.
Start by developing a set policy explaining privacy, security and terms of use. Have an IT professional check to ensure the devices are using safe encryption and that they aren’t jail-broken, but don’t go overboard. We recommend a full list of recommended applications and suggested internal programs.

A company application store.

Some businesses are even creating their own app stores for employees to access on their internal websites. They are like Apple’s App Store or Google Play but include only apps the company has vetted or that are designed to work appropriately with its network safely.

Some states are beginning to regulate.
Analysts at USA Today say another situation with BYOD is the California 2012 ruling that employers must reimburse employees for work-related calls made on personal devices. It means that companies will probably have to contribute, but could also mean they have more rights to oversee security too.

Quick tips to follow… Plan well, establish a companywide policy, and train your employees. If you do not have a current BYOD policy, sit down with your leadership team and develop a plan. Establish a policy that administers guidelines that prevent confusion and keep your company data secure. Most of all, train your staff extensively so they see why the policy is so important. Keep compliance requirements in the forefront of everyone’s mind because all company data housed on any device is subject to the same regulatory mandates as your other IT systems.

Give us a call today for a full review of your BYOD policy.