In the past, the only technologies available to employees in the workplace were the devices provided for and regulated by the company. Workers were allocated phones, pagers or computers to use in performing tasks at work, and these devices were monitored and controlled by the company.
However, the proliferation of consumer technology has made employees less dependent on the devices provided by the companies they work for. Most people already own mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and therefore do not depend solely on company-issued computing devices. As a result of this development, many companies have adopted a BYOD (bring your own device) approach to workplace computing.
How does BYOD work and what are its advantages?
Essentially, the BYOD arrangement encourages employees to use their personal devices in the office to access networks and perform various tasks in the workplace.
One of the key advantages of BYOD is that it offers employees more control over their computing devices. This helps in promoting employee morale and productivity.
Moreover, when employees bring their own devices to work, the cost of procuring expensive computing devices is significantly reduced.
What are the Risks Associated with BYOD?
Allowing office workers to use their mobile devices at work is highly convenient and can help a company increase its overall efficiency. Nevertheless, this workplace computing arrangement is also prone to several risks, including:
– Data Leakage
Using personal devices for office computing can make the company’s system vulnerable to data breaches, since personal computing equipment may not be adequately protected.
– Lost Devices
Companies that adopt a BYOD policy also have to deal with the risk of employee’s devices getting lost or stolen. If an employee’s personal device falls into the wrong hands, it could lead to unauthorised access to the company’s systems. This puts the company’s security at jeopardy.
– Risk of Hacking
Most personal devices lack adequate data encryption which makes them susceptible to infiltration by hackers.
– Malware Risks
Employees may be using their personal mobile devices to access sites or download apps that would otherwise be blocked by the company’s IT system. This makes them very vulnerable to attacks by malware viruses.
How to Mitigate the Risks of BYOD
If you are thinking about employing a BYOD approach in your company’s IT infrastructure, you need to be able to handle the risks that come with it. Here are some of the ways in which you can implement a successful and secure BYOD policy in your company:
– Specify the Devices that are Allowed
When implementing a BYOD policy, you should specify the devices that are permitted. This will allow your IT department to track and regulate the devices that are accessing company networks
– Use Password Protected Access Controls
It is also crucial that your employees have a password or pin encryption on their devices since this will restrict access in case their computing equipment gets lost or stolen.
– Multi-factor Authentication
Like we discussed in a previous blog article, multi-factor authentication, which requires another form of identification when logging into a machine, is the new generation technique to prevent phishing, man-in-the-middle and other attacks.
– Control Wireless Network Connectivity
You should only allow employees to access WiFi networks from trusted sources to mitigate the risk of hacking.
– Regularly Update Firmware, Software, and Applications
You should insist that all employees with personal devices keep them regularly updated. Software and application updates usually come with security packages to protect devices from emerging risks and threats.
– Backup All Data
It is highly necessary that all company data and information on your employees’ devices are backed up to your primary database. This will ensure that crucial data is not lost in case a device breaks down or gets lost.
BYOD is certainly a significant IT trend in the business world and is catching on very fast. However, before you adopt this approach in your company, it is vital to understand how it works, the risks involved and the ways of mitigating these risks.
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