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Bring Your Own Device: Risks and Opportunities

A growing number of organizations are allowing their employees to perform organizational tasks using their own devices, such as their smartphones and laptops, in performing organizational tasks. This growing trend by businesses in embracing the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is meant to allow employees to keep on working in their workplace or remotely, eliminating the need to switch from one device to another.

Organizations that have embraced BYOD no longer supply physical devices to their employees, but rely on staff-owned devices. Companies are finding it cost-effective, convenient and productive, permitting employees to use their own devices.

According to the Global Market Insights, the BYOD concept will experience exponential growth going forward with an estimated market share of US$ 366.95 Billion by the year 2022. This is an indication that there is great potential among businesses in the adoption of BYOD in a bid to upscale their digital transformation efforts.

Bring Your Own Device

What Are the Benefits of BYOD Approach?

Some of the benefits which are making businesses implement BYOD strategy include;

  • The cost-effective nature of BYOD is attracting businesses in adopting this strategy. Since the employees are using their own devices, they do not need to budget for the purchase of IT hardware. Thus, funds that could otherwise be allocated for the purchase of IT hardware can be used to acquire more sophisticated software.
  • Efficiency is increased as employees waste minimal time in switching between devices. Now that they are using their own devices in the workplace, efficiency is enhanced since there is no wasting of time moving from one machine to the other.
  • Employees can work remotely from their homes even at night or during leave, which enhances business productivity. This has been particularly crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Organizations deploying BYOD strategy will enjoy the flexibility of piloting applications and devices before going full throttle and purchasing in bulk.

Is Your Organization Prepared for the Risks of BYOD Strategy?

IT experts point out that businesses might be required to adopt Bring Your Own Device strategy to deepen digital transformation efforts. Although the adoption of BYOD is good for any business, it comes with a certain degree of risk that the management must be alive to. Some are pointed out below;

A report by Bitglass carried out in 2019 established that organizations are implementing BYOD even when they have no clear policies in place. The report found that over 47 percent of enterprises were permitting their staff to work remotely using their own devices with no clear safety policies.

Employees’ devices exposure to malware attacks and viruses might be transferred to the entire business network. This might impact business operations and derail digital transformation efforts. Cases of data breaches and information theft have been reported by 56.5 percent of the enterprises, as per a 2015 report by Trend Micro Ion.

Further, BYOD network compatibility and capability with the kind of the OS used by employees is another sticking point. Businesses are forced to spend money on procuring applications that are compatible with various employees’ OS.

These pain points, if not addressed, will definitely affect the BYOD-powered digital transformation efforts.

How Can Organizations Mitigate the Risks of BYOD?

Organizations seeking to reap the dividends of BYOD might want to have the following measures in place.

  • Use of Passwords should be made mandatory when login into the device. Saved and auto-filled security passwords should be discouraged as these may lead to access of company network by unauthorized persons.
  • Regular re-authentication of the devices be carried out to keep the company in the know on the devices being used by employees at any given time.
  • Training of employees in a bid to enhance their skills in backing up personal data in case they lose or misplace their devices. The organization might consider cloud computing to protect data.
  • Control of connectivity by disabling of automatic connection to wireless networks, mobile hotspots, Bluetooth, or any other connection hence blocking visibility of the devices by company outsiders.
  • Ensuring apps and ads are restricted from the network is critical. Free apps and ads might contain viruses.
  • Employees should be discouraged from using their antivirus software since some might not be updated or authentic. The organization should have a list of antivirus-approved software that it allows for use on employees’ devices.
  • There should be clear guidelines on which devices are accepted for use in the organization. This will curtail employees from using disallowed devices, exposing corporate information to cyber threats.
  • Organization should ensure the existence of a clear plan to be used in handling data contained in employees’ devices once they leave the company. This will ensure that company information does not remain in the devices of the estranged employees.
  • There should be encrypting of data, and any transfer from one device to the other should be restricted to authorized applications.

How Can a Managed IT Services Company Help Transition to BYOD?

A managed IT services firm can help delete the lost data if employees lose or misplace their devices, which contained the organization’s sensitive information. In such cases, the IT services company can wipe the lost device clean remotely.

Every employee should be required to append a signature on a permission slip, which will allow a managed IT services company to delete data once devices are lost or stolen.

Using an IT services company ensures that you receive the up-to-date technological security software, thus protecting your organizations from threats. To ensure all employees have updated devices, a managed IT services company can create a setting that automatically updates all devices.

If employees are given the option of installing the updates manually, some might tend to be reluctant, hence exposing corporate information to safety threats.

A managed IT services company can help in installing data backups. Since employees have a lot of data sets in their own devices, the IT provider can automatically perform data backups by uploading the back up using cloud technology to a cloud server.

This saves the time that employees would have taken in backing up the data files.

Final Word

Businesses seeking to enhance their employee’s productivity will find BYOD approach feasible. With the recent trend of working from home likely to persist, companies that take a plunge into the BYOD space will be well-positioned to reap the immense benefits of productive staff and lower costs.