For many companies, the days of corporate-provided devices are over. Employees want to use the mobile devices they are most comfortable with – and they don’t want to have to worry about separate devices for home and work. To accommodate this growing trend, most employers allow implementing BYOD policies and allowing employees to “bring your own device” to work.
According to Software Providers, a business software consulting firm, the biggest problem with BYOD policies is security. When you use a mobile device for personal reasons, you may have some basic security in place to protect your passwords, photographs, and social media accounts. But when you bring this device to work and use it to access sensitive company information, additional security is needed.
To deal with this emerging threats to company data, employers have turned to security technology from many different companies, including:
• Fiberlink MaaS360
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the issues surrounding BYOD security for companies and employees today.
Fear of Big Brother
When BYOD first became popular, employees balked employers having access to their personal data – and a say in what they could have or do on their personal devices. As a result, most businesses that implement BYOD now require employees and employers to sign an agreement that outlines their BYOD policies. These policies now focus on ensuring the security and privacy of employee as well as company data and activities.
The mobile security providers listed above have evolved their functionality over the past few years. Now, they can monitor, secure and even wipe out company data, while still preserving personal data in the event of a security breach. This has helped establish and maintain trust between employers and employees, and helps employees to feel more secure in using personal devices at work.
Should you ban personal devices or invest in security software?
Some employers have attempted to ban the practice of BYOD rather than deal with the security issues it involves. However, some who have attempted this have found that it can cause more problems than just dealing with the issue head-on.
The problem with banning BYOD policies is that it is difficult to achieve 100% compliance. It’s not that employees purposely want to put their employer at risk. But in today’s world, checking email on mobile devices – even outside of work hours – is commonplace. To ban such a practice puts both employees and employers at a serious disadvantage.
Because it’s that much harder to find and fix a security leak among personal devices without a structured BYOD policy, many employers have discovered that allowing BYOD – and enforcing strict policies for its use – is a better option. Then, security issues can be seen more clearly and dealt with more quickly.
If BYOD is banned and an employee checks his or her company email on a mobile device, IT specialists at that company may not even know it has happened. But if BYOD is allowed and a security monitoring system is in place, the IT department can monitor the devices and be better alerted to possible data breaches. This gives employers better control and better security.
Small expense, big reward
In today’s highly mobile world, employers should view BYOD security as a necessary expense, not a sunk cost. BYOD security, while costly up front, can save money in the long run. Security breaches can be devastating to a business – both economically and in terms of branding and PR. Put in those terms, BYOD security is a worthwhile investment.
Managers should research the security options that are available and make a choice based on their company’s specific needs. Instead of denying that device security is an issue, employers should face the issue head-on and proactively work to find a solution that both benefits employees and employers alike.