As data and technology are becoming more important in workplaces across the world, the trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is increasingly common. However, there are some threats stemming from this strategy that companies should be aware of. Learn more about what Bring Your Own Device means, why it emerged, the benefits and concerns raised by the strategy and some steps to take when managing BYOD workplaces.
What is Bring Your Own Device?
Bring your own device refers to a strategy that some companies follow in which employees bring their own devices into the workplace and complete their tasks on those, rather than on company hardware. This typically encompasses the use of laptops, mobile phones and sometimes tablets. In a workplace using BYOD, the majority of work is completed on company-licensed platforms and software packages, with the employee connecting to the company’s network to transmit their work to the business.
Why has BYOD emerged?
There are a couple of major factors that have led to the rise of BYOD, the first of which is the post-pandemic return to the workplace. When working remotely everyone became accustomed to completing their work on personal devices rather than workplace computers, which meant that they had all the files and programs necessary on those devices. As this was the case, there was less of a need for companies to invest in their own computing equipment, instead transitioning fully to employees bringing their own devices.
What are the advantages of BYOD?
There are plenty of advantages for businesses using Bring Your Own Device strategies, including:
- Financial Benefits: Companies using devices that their employees own means that they spend less money on digital infrastructure themselves, allowing them to put more money into product development and improving the company as an alternative.
- Comfortable Employees: Employees can be more comfortable when they are working with their own devices, as all the settings are to their personal liking. This keeps them working as efficiently as possible since they know how all the programs work and the way that their device behaves under load.
- Hybrid Working Potential: If an employee is able to remotely connect to company servers through a VPN or other software solution, there is much more potential for hybrid working to take place. This vastly improves the company’s flexibility, allowing people to work for the business when travel is interrupted by weather or other issues.
What are the drawbacks of BYOD?
Whilst there are a lot of advantages to BYOD, companies can struggle if they don’t account for the drawbacks. The main issues of using BYOD are:
- Security Risks: Home devices can present a big security risk to a workplace network. People are less likely to have completely secure devices with antiviral software at home, and an infected device joining the network could spread the issue to affect everyone else’s home devices and company servers.
- Device Issues: When a company uses uniform devices for all of its employees, it knows that those devices can complete their tasks. With BYOD, there is a risk of employees bringing in equipment that doesn’t reach the minimum specifications of all the programs that the company requires.
- Permission Complexity: Companies get around BYOD work by assigning different employees permissions based on the tasks that individuals have to complete. In large organisations, providing everyone with the right permissions for their role is complex and can lead to mistakes.
How to manage BYOD workplaces
Implementing BYOD naturally brings more complexities with it, as there are lots of different types of devices on the network all completing different tasks. Some of the main steps that you can take when trying to manage BYOD in the workplace are:
Keep Track of Devices
Keep constant tabs on the devices that are connecting to your network. People can try to make use of multiple devices when completing their work, including people connecting on both their phone and laptop. By keeping track of who owns what device and when they are most likely to use it, you reduce the chance of a third-party accessing the network without you realising it.
Use Effective Permission Management
Effective permission management means that you understand what everyone in the organisation’s role is and the permissions required for each of these roles. By constantly auditing the permissions that each position requires and checking that employees have the access they need, you ensure that the company continues to be as efficient as it can be whilst still only providing the access people need.
Have Strong Security Protocols
Implement rigorous security protocols. This means stopping people from downloading certain file types on the company network, asking people to have longer passwords and encouraging people to use an antivirus on their devices. Combined with phishing training, these steps stop external parties from accessing the network and doing damage to the company by seizing files or deleting data. Device protection should always be a top priority.
Whilst BYOD has a range of benefits, especially for smaller businesses who may not have the capital to invest in technology that larger organisations do, it comes with a host of challenges. If your business is implementing or considering implementing BYOD, it’s essential you invest in proper management and have a BYOD policy in place. It’s crucial that you have the right cybersecurity and backup and recovery measures in place to protect your business data which is ultimately less secure on employees personal devices.
Why choose Eventura as your cybersecurity partner?
With over 20 years experience in cybersecurity, we know our stuff. Our team of cybersecurity experts can complete a full audit of your business and identify any areas of weakness, which could leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks.
We were even mentioned in the Governments National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Annual Review 2020 when we were chosen to test their “Exercise in a Box” designed to help small businesses prepare and respond to cyberthreats. You can read the article here.
There is a common misconception that cyberattacks don’t happen to SMEs but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With our expert knowledge, we can help you protect your business’s future from the ever increasing threat of cybercriminals.
If you would like to speak to one of our cybersecurity experts or request a cybersecurity audit, you can request a free call back here.