BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. It’s an IT policy that allows employees to use their own personal devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets to access organization’s data.
Part of BYOD’s popularity comes from ‘Consumerization of IT’ which empowers workforces to use their personal devices at work. The main agenda of consumerization is to bring the same ease-of-use, flexibility, choice, and better user experiences for employees towards the application they use at work too.
Employers can implement a BYOD policy to incorporate a BYOD culture in their organization. It can be designed in such a way that the use of personal devices can be controlled to mitigate the risks associated with BYOD.
The following four basic access levels can be granted in BYOD:
- Unlimited access for personal devices
- No access for sensitive systems and data
- Access to all data, but with IT taking control over personal devices, apps, and stored data
- Access, but preventing the users to store local data on personal devices
People are familiar with their own devices, and they find them comfortable to use. This can increase productivity and boost employee morale, but because BYOD devices are not controlled by the organization, it may cause security issues and increase the risk of data breaches.
Every policy has its pros and cons associated with it; BYOD is no different. Let’s understand the good and bad of implementing a BYOD policy in your organization.
Pros of BYOD
Following are the benefits of using BYOD policy in your organization:
With the BYOD policy in place, organizations can save a large amount of money associated with hardware such as phones or laptops. It also reduces the upfront costs linked with monthly voice and data services fees. By implementing BYOD, organizations can cut the hardware cost from the IT budget and shift it to the individual user.
As employees are familiar with their own devices’ Operating Systems and functions, they have to spend less time in training on how to use the device. This saves the time and cost linked with the training.
Gives Employees More Choice
BYOD gives employees the flexibility and freedom to use their own devices. It gives employees control, independence, and ownership to work in the desired environment with the freedom of using their own devices for work. This makes them more productive and efficient, which ultimately results in greater job satisfaction
Speed and Power
People generally upgrade their laptops and phones more regularly as compared to business work. New features like 4G LTE, Siri, etc. are great for work-related tasks and they can increase the speed of work. Therefore, with BYOD in place, employees use newer and faster technology to get things done effectively.
Cons of BYOD
Following are the risks associated with BYOD policy:
One of the main concerns with BYOD is security. To allow BYOD, employers have to trust the cybersecurity understanding of employees. Allowing dozens to hundreds to thousands of different types of devices into your organization, without much security information can lead to a data breach.
The more the number of personal devices, the more the risk of a potential leak. By providing dedicated office devices to employees, organizations have greater control over the information accessed by the employees, that isn’t available with BYOD.
Certain industries have very strict laws on how information is accessed and used and putting your organization’s compliance responsibilities to employees’ personal devices used for work is not a great idea. The fundamental security issues with BYOD and the chances that employees might share some confidential data with the outer world makes it difficult to enforce compliance.
With BYOD, data silos can become a big issue. Mobile users use different types of consumer file-sharing tools which are not very secure, and they may create several copies of a single file. When it comes to reducing data silos issues, BYOD is not an ideal choice, and it may lead to revenue loss.
BYOD policy becomes questionable when devices used by employees are lost or stolen. If a lost device is found by the wrong person, it can easily be intruded on and changed for personally identifiable information.
Mobile devices are recognized as an emerging vector for cyberattacks. Allowing your employees to use their own devices unchecked, could end up exposing corporate data and sensitive information.
To make BYOD work, organizations have to find a way to enhance BYOD security. Organizations can use BYOD management solutions to define the mobile device security policies and protocols to leverage the benefits of BYOD.
With BYOD, organizations must understand that instead of allowing their employees to store company files on their personal devices, they can incorporate some centralized solutions like SaaS, VDI/DaaS, and RDS Servers in their IT infrastructure. This will help organizations in eliminating the potential risks associated with BYOD.