BYOD: The Risks and Rewards of Personal Digital Devices in the Workplace

using privacy filters in public

As the lines between personal life and work life blur, so too do the usage of our digital devices for both.  Many companies are embracing the BYOD trend (Bring Your Own Device) for its many benefits, including the reduction of inefficiencies that come with juggling corporate and personal devices.  Digital technology supplied by employers mean doubling the number of devices an employee may have to carry with them, along with the inconvenience of having to switch from corporate devices to personal as needed. Employees using their desktop or laptop computers  on work-from-home days to check emails and follow up on assignments improves productivity. And business travelers using their personal phones and tablets to conduct business on the road improves the efficiency of communication between on-the-go employees and the home office.

BYOD Policy Basics for Business

  • Implement cloud platforms for remote business operations so lost or stolen devices do not compromise important data
  • Provide privacy filters to help prevent visual security breaches
  • Provide and train employees on remote data management applications, including software that allows for remote wiping of data, scanning for malware and data leakage and archiving company information

Studies including Harris Interactive, Osterman Research and  Gartner Research have revealed key details to the BYOD trend.  In a study by Harris Interactive, it was revealed that nearly two-thirds of companies have no policies regarding the use of personal mobile devices at work, and 33% tolerate personal devices for business. In a Osterman Research white paper, the majority of both iPhones and Android phones used for corporate business were owned personally rather than by the corporation.  And Gartner research estimated that almost half of the world’s companies will no longer provide computer devices to employees in the near future, 40% will offer a choice between corporate or personal devices and only 15% will remain outside the BYOD model.

Why Companies and Employees Like BYOD

Companies save when employees use their personal devices. The average cost of supplying mobile computing devices is estimated to be $600 annually per employee. Also employees are more likely to upgrade their personal devices to the latest and greatest technology, offering faster performance and greater security.

Employee prefer their personal devices. A Unisys report found that 44% of employees find a job offer more attractive if they can use their personal devices on the job.

Risks to the BYOD Trend

With rewards come risks. When defining their BYOD policies, companies need to take in account the potential hazards of personal devices. The Harris survey revealed the following:

  • 31% of employees connect to their company’s network from an unsecured free or public Wi-Fi
  • 46% share their personal devices with others
  • 25% have been victims of hacking or malware on their personal devices
  • 52% of laptop users are simply ignoring the problem of shoulder surfing, potentially exposing sensitive, corporate information when accessing their devices in public

As it appears that BYOD may become a business practice more than a trend, companies need to review and implement policies that both protect sensitive company information while still offering the flexibility of the modern work/life balance.

Sources

http://www.welivesecurity.com/2012/04/04/byod-infographic-for-security-not-a-pretty-picture/
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2036980/half-of-companies-will-require-byod-by-2017-gartner-says.html

 

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