BYOD stands for Bring your own device.
This is a term for employees of a company that bring in and use their own smart devices on the companies network. The devices may be smartphones, laptops, tablets or smartwatches. This can be good for the business, as it means they don’t have to invest in expensive hardware for every employee, and also allows employees to use devices they are familiar with and can be most productive on. This also allows employees to continue working from home, allowing productivity level to increase, and if they decide they want to upgrade their device, they can, without having to ask the business.
All these pros make a convincing argument for BYOD, making employees happier and more productive is never going to be bad for a business. However, not everything about BYOD is positive. There are many issues generated from BYOD.
There is no way to guarantee a user has a system compatible with software that is used within the business. To use certain software, the company may require employees to have a certain type of device, which may not be too expensive for some employees to own, or not a device they like using. BYOD also creates issues in getting software onto certain devices.
It is a lot harder for the IT department to put software on everyone’s device independently than it would be to mass install it on all devices within a business. There is also then the issue of who owns the software once an employee leaves the company. Can the company force the employee to delete data from their own personal device?There are also many security threats associated with BYOD. One of the main threats is the increased risk of viruses and other malware being brought into the business network. As the company has no control over the devices once they leave the building, employees could be using insecure devices with little or no protection against malware and viruses. If the employees’ device where to get a virus or any malware, the employee would then risk spreading said virus or malware to other devices on the business’ network.
As viruses work by spreading from system to system and replicating themselves, one computer containing a virus could be devastating on the whole network of devices. Another risk with BYOD is that employees have the ability to access files and potentially sensitive data on their own system. An employee with access to the server or storage system could copy whatever files they wanted to their PC and then detach from the network. Employees may wish to copy files to allow them to continue work on them at home, which a business would probably not want to stop as it leads to increased productivity. However, if the employee then connects their device to an insecure network or shares them with other users on their home network, the files can potentially be shared with outside sources. This could be an issue if the company is working on sensitive information such as customer details or code for software as potentially anyone could access these files. The employee could also send or sell these files to other people, for their own personal gain, and the company would not know about it.
If the company was using their own devices, they would be able to ensure the appropriate security measures were in place on the device to stop something like this from happening. One final security consideration with BYOD is the data ownership. As the user owns the device, it becomes hard to manage what data they have on there. As it will be a device for combined personal and work use, the company cannot have full access to the device. This makes it hard for companies to manage what data employees have on their device, which can pose an issue when employees go to leave the company, as it becomes hard to check the employee does not have any confidential files left on their device. The best way to avoid all of these security problems is to supply users with company devices, and not let them use their own mobile devices or laptops within the business network.
This increases security as it becomes a lot easier to monitor all devices on the network. As the company owns the device, they are in full control of all the data that is on it, allowing them to manage and delete data at their own will, and can install monitoring, antivirus and security software. If employees are allowed to take the devices home, the company can ensure appropriate security measures are in place to stop unwanted access to the files. Antivirus software can also make sure every device on the network is virus and malware free.If you are running a business where you supply devices to employees, you could provide lockers for the employees to put their own devices in. The lockers can contain a Faraday cage, stopping the employees; devices from communicating with anything outside of the locker. This has two benefits within the business, firstly it stops employees from getting distracted from their work by their own personal devices, and secondly, it increases security as the only devices allowed into the workplace are devices that have been secured by the business.Although this is the best method to increase security, it is not always possible with some businesses, especially smaller ones that may not be able to afford devices for every employee.
In this case, making employees install certain software before they can access and connect to the network would help increase security. The user could be required to download an antivirus program and run it before connecting to the network, dealing with viruses and malware, and they could be required to install certain other security programs, ensuring the device was not accessible to people on insecure networks. Although this solution is not ideal, it is better than putting no protective measures in place. Overall, a security conscious business should supply secure devices to the employees, and use a secure network and locker system to stop all data from leaving the network.
However, if this is not possible, the business should consider installing security and admin software on the employees’ devices before they are allowed to access the network, ensuring all data stays as secure as possible.