Risks Involved in Adopting BYOD
Imagine a workplace scenario where every employee has his/her own mobile device to access company data and applications. This way, people get their work done using their own devices in the office. Briefly, this is what Bring Your Own Device or BYOD is all about. All over the world, companies are opening up to this new trend and there are mixed reviews about its usefulness.
While some say it makes employees more productive, others are more concerned about the risks involved. Irrespective of all this, BYOD has become quite popular in business circles as well as in schools and colleges.
The Reason behind BYOD Growth
Smartphones, tablets, phablets and other mobile devices have made deep inroads with today’s generation of Internet users. Tech-savvy individuals have more than one device that they use for work or pleasure. It comes as no surprise that people started getting these devices to office with them. It was only a matter of time before employees started doing their work through such gadgets.
The growth of Wi-Fi networks is another reason why BYOD has grown so rapidly in the past few years. It doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon as companies welcome employees who prefer working on their personal devices.
The flipside of this trend is that there are quite a few risks involved.
Unreliable third-party apps:
Many people download such apps and use them on a regular basis. When the same device is brought into contact with a professional network, then the risk of hacking arises. Many third-party apps might be already infected with malware that could harm the proper working of the device. On a bigger scale, it could infiltrate the company network and start creating serious issues.
One way to mitigate this problem is by installing security apps on all the employee devices. This can be a pain, as regular updates need to be downloaded.
Data management and segregation issues:
When employees get their devices to work, questions about access begin to pop up. Should everyone be given permission to view all kinds of files? Obviously not. In a business setting, certain employees will need more access than others will.
When BYOD is in play, it becomes tough for IT departments to segregate data for each employee. This becomes another headache for the company to deal with.
Since mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are smaller, the risk of losing them is much higher. According to McAfee, over 30% of individuals fail to set up password protection on their mobile devices. This means that loss or theft could result in a security breach.
If an employee has sensitive company information on his/her tablet or smartphone, then the loss of it could result in bigger problems for the company. This is where BYOD is not such a good idea.
Tracking data difficulties:
The use of cloud services by employees means that data can be moving from one place to another. This becomes a major issue when the company cannot keep track of where all its data is being moved or used.
Hiring a separate company to track data does not always serve the purpose. Employees too can stray from the set guidelines for data movement and this is when additional risks begin to creep in.
If a company has recently fired an employee, then he/she may try to take revenge by leaking important data to public sources. This is something that a company might trick on to after the damage is done.
Sometimes, employees may just forget to inform the HR department that they have a mobile device containing company information. In both cases, chances of leaks are quite high.
While this doesn’t usually happen, it can become a problem once BYOD becomes a common occurrence. Certain employees might use their corporate accounts and purchase apps for their personal use.
This means that the company will be footing the bill for an employee’s shopping spree.
For those companies that are thinking of adopting a BYOD approach, strict guidelines need to be set down. Before employees are allowed to bring their own devices to work, a solid security framework should be set up in order to protect company data.
By Sasha Joyner,
Sasha Joyner is a technology enthusiast who is fond of writing helpful tips and fresh tidbits of information about the different fields in technology and innovation. She is currently working with Telco Services