While you may not know what BYOD is, you do need to worry about how it is affecting your business. It does not matter if you are a micro business with two employees or a large corporation with hundreds. No matter where you are located, what kind of work that you do or how long you have been in business; you need to understand the benefits and risks associated with BYOD.
BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is a term created by Intel in 2009 to indicate the growing trend of employees utilizing their personal devices in their work environment. While employees have been bringing their cell phones to work with them from the day they proudly brought that fancy flip phone home from the store, it wasn’t a big concern until personal devices like tablets and Smartphones started to be used by employees for business critical tasks.
The Silver Lining
There are actually quite a few benefits of the BYOD movement for the business owner. The typical employee, like all consumers, loves to have the latest and greatest technology available. They are buying and becoming experts at using top of the line products, and since they are so comfortable their specific phone or tablet, they can begin seeing productivity benefits immediately
This trend is keeping your business at the leading edge of cell phone and tablet technology without spending any money. The business does not have to purchase these expensive devices or train their employees how to use them. It is estimated that employees gain 45 to 60 minutes of productivity per week simply by having the anytime, anywhere access offered by their personal devices.
And Here Is the Rub
While the business owner can rejoice at the large savings in technology spending and the dramatic increase in productivity, these benefits do come with risk. Allowing your employees to openly access your business network environment opens up many potential risks. For example:
- What if one employee’s device becomes infected with a virus and that virus accesses your network and takes your entire business environment down?
- When an employee leaves your company, they can possess a lot of confidential and important information that your business can no longer access or control.
- Every device that is not properly secured becomes a potential doorway for hackers and data thieves.
Due to these types of risks many enterprise businesses are beginning to make a notable change in their stance on BYOD. In 2013, approximately 34% of private enterprise businesses banned the use of personal devices in the workplace and chose to provide the phones, tablets and laptops to their employees. In 2015, that number has grown significantly to 53%. However, this is likely not an option for the small business owner that cannot justify providing every employee with multiple devices to get their work done.
How to Embrace BYOD and Stay Safe
If your business has decided to continue to allow BYOD in your business, you can take steps to protect your business. Here are the two most critical steps that your business needs to consider immediately:
- Develop a comprehensive BYOD security policy for your business.
- Enforce your policy with regular audits to make sure your employees are adhering to your policies.
Don’t Worry, We Can Help!
If you are concerned about the risks your business is exposed to from BYOD, contact your local Computer Troubleshooters office and request that one of their technology professionals meet with you to assess your risks and discuss your options for keeping your business safe.