BYOD in the workplace

What is BYOD?

Bring Your Own Device

On first glance BYOD sounds like a great solution for businesses to reduce costs in the workplace and in some workplaces BYOD works and works well.  In some instances, it has been shown that employee productivity has even increased as they are more mobile and in touch.  However BYOD provides its own challenges to the workplace.

Security and confidentiality is one of the biggest pitfalls to a BYOD program.

Depending on the type of business you are running, depends on the differing IT needs of your business.  If you use a computer in your business, you are using software to run that business and the information that is collected in your business is then stored in a database of some kind.  Your and your customer’s private confidential business is stored on a computer – whether that be your own computer, your employee’s own laptop, on a Server, in a NAS, on an external harddrive or even in the cloud.  No matter what business you are in, you are storing private, confidential or sometimes even sensitive data.

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Here’s a checklist of what you need to consider before implementing a BYOD program in your work place.

Level of Security required
Programs Required - will they run on any device
What happens when your staff leave?
Who will pay for IT related maintenance - staff member or business?
Virus and Malware Protection
Protecting your employees Personal Data
How will you separate Corporate data from Personal Data
Set up a policy on what apps are acceptable to be used during business hours
Consider the use of Mobile Management Platform or Program for monitoring
Is the employee's device compatible with your Server?
MacBooks don't always work well in a Windows environment
Risks associated with accessing data across unsecured networks eg: coffee shops

 

All of these points plus many more need to be considered. Below is a short YouTube video that was created by Dell on some of the risks that need to be considered with a BYOD policy.  It’s not the most interesting video but definitely brings up some very valid points.

Really there is no one size fits all.  If you are a Graphic Design company, everyone that works there may have their own laptop that they use and in this type of environment, an effective BYOD policy would be perfect.  However if you are a company which is concerned about security of their Data, then it may be more effective to supply your staff with a company issued laptop or device.  A company issued laptop or device would be set up by you or your IT team with exactly what is required to work in that business.  Security Protocols, Password Management, VPN links, Anti-virus etc can all be set up and locked down so employees cannot download and install applications that are not relevant to their job.  If an employee leaves, the device is simply handed in and can then be backed up, non-relevant data can be wiped off and re-setup for the next user.

The focus of this post is to bring about awareness of some of the issues that can arise with a BYOD policy in the workplace.  So before you say “yes” to someone using their own device for business, assess the security levels of your business, talk to your IT professional for advise and set up protocols/policies to be adhered to by both the employee and the employer.

Xen Technologies Pty Ltd