BYOD policy: Good or bad for business

BYOD policy: Good or bad for business

New research by Apricorn, into USB use, found that 80% of workers use non-encrypted USB drives on their work computers, which got us thinking about the potential dangers that could be lurking in your office every day.

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New research by Apricorn, into USB use, found that 80% of workers use non-encrypted USB drives on their work computers, which got us thinking about the potential dangers that could be lurking in your office every day.

The last thing you want to do is treat employees like children and ban any of their devices being used, or prevent them accessing the outside world during work hours but there need to be regulations in place – to keep your business safe.

More and more businesses are now adopting the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work policy, which is seen by many as a cheaper way to run an office but the reality is it could ultimately prove costly.

A change in policy shifts the costs to the user, saving the business money on software, hardware and other associated ongoing expenses, while seemingly keeping staff happy.

The Good Technology State of BYOD Report found that “50% of companies with BYOD models are requiring employees to cover all costs — and they are happy to do so.”

Allowing staff to use their own devices, the ones they have invested their own hard-earned money in means they are getting to use the devices they know and love and leads to worker satisfaction, which in turn results in a more productive workforce.

Individuals are also more likely to spend more money keeping their tech up to date so businesses benefit from higher spec equipment that they would be likely to buy themselves.

But, when you don’t own the tech, you can’t control it. While it means you aren’t responsible for managing the hardware and software you still need to manage the cybersecurity risk – as it is your business that remains at risk from attacks and hacks.

As well as managing the risk, with company-issued technology you can decide what is deemed “acceptable use”, you can easily block access to certain devices and websites and you can make sure security protocols are followed and software secure.

A BYOD policy is essential to the security of your business but how far can you go?

Surely you can’t tell employees what is “acceptable use” of their own computers, can you?

Not really but you can ensure they are aware of expectations and minimum security requirements.

Even something as simple and as common as working from home can provide security risks so imagine the level of risk when all of your business data is kept on someone else’s actual property.

Issues can arise over who actually owns the data and what happens to it if someone leaves the company?

Some businesses fall under various compliance mandates; including the PCI, DSS, HIPAA or GLBA which all provide their own safeguarding rules but if you don’t you need to have your own – and make sure it sticks.

What happens if an employee leaves? How can you ensure your data can be retrieved and removed from their mobile phones and computers.

A policy to cover such things is great in theory but the reality can be very different. You are relying on your employees to give you access to equipment before they leave, not always in the best circumstances, and this might not always be possible.

And with more staff than ever working remotely, this can create even more problems.

Our advice when it comes to remote working is to mitigate potential damage by installing whole-disk encryption software and installing remote-wipe apps on all mobile devices so you can erase data if the device gets lost or staff leave.

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Author Details
Founder & CEO at Hedgehog Security

Peter has been in the Information Security world since 1999 and in IT in general since 1996. His work history contains a unique blended balance between the development of exceptional technical capabilities and business knowledge. Peter is a proud father of twins and enjoys GT endurance racing on the weekends.

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