By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
In the current work environment, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend is quickly becoming the rule and not the exception. Putting the proper policies in place to manage this trend is not so mainstream. Sticking one’s head in the sand, however, and hoping for the best hardly seems like a viable option.
This news piece from the MaaSters Center shows that is precisely what many companies are doing. According to research outlined by BostInno, nearly half of companies don’t support bring your own device policies, but employees don’t seem to mind.
At 57 percent, an overwhelming majority said they use their personal devices for business purposes regardless. Experts agree that it’s not a matter of if but when consequences for inappropriate use of personal devices will surface, especially if there is no plan in place to accommodate such use.
It doesn’t really make a difference if employees are accessing corporate data using their own personal devices at home or at work if they are using inappropriate means to retrieve confidential corporate information. This practice leaves companies vulnerable to critical security risks.
These security threats not only open the door to legal woes, but invite productivity problems as well. Research shows that regardless if companies have a plan in place to address bring your own device practices or not, employees are taking matters into their own hands, so why not be prepared?
Developing an effective bring your own device policy must originate from the top-down, with execs and management acknowledging that the issue can no longer be simply overlooked. One way to justify the expense of implementing a bring your own device policy is to consider the offset in equipment costs that will be met as employees supply their own hardware.
Once the organization has committed to a plan, employee productivity and efficiency will no doubt increase, as will the protection provided for corporate networks.
BYOD policies should include how incongruent devices and their accompanying apps are to be managed. A recent BostInno article shows that there are several areas that need to be included in the plan. First, what happens when an employee leaves or goes on vacation since they take the device with them?
The option for centralized storage needs to be addressed, and so should the issue of data leakage protection. Next, all workers on the BYOD plan ought to be made aware of potential security threats, and IT must have a way to monitor BYOD usage to ensure it complies with the mandated guidelines.
For those companies not quite ready to fully embrace the bring your own device bandwagon, it’s still a good idea to establish a security policy. As our parents would say: It’s for your own good.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey