Pros VS. Cons of a Bring Your Own Device Policy


Securing Your BYOD Policy

Work practices have undergone a revolution in the digital age. Networked devices and more mobility have blurred the line between work and home as vast numbers of people perform their jobs across multiple platforms, often far from the office.

An accompanying phenomenon is the bring your own device (BYOD) policy which allows employees to use their own laptops and smartphones in the office or, alternatively, to use those devices to work from home.

BYOD has its pros and cons, and organizations that already have a policy in place or are contemplating implementing one need to tick some boxes to make sure it runs as smoothly, and most importantly, securely as possible.

The Good

BYOD has obvious advantages for staff who like the convenience and familiarity of working on their own devices. It could also lead to productivity gains, as users have an affinity for their own personal devices and how they use them.

Personal laptops, tablets, and smartphones are usually more cutting edge, given that companies often don’t update their desktops for years on end. BYOD also allows staff to carry only one or two devices around with them, rather than different ones for work and personal use.

BYOD policies can save organizations money, as they don’t have to spend as much on their IT hardware while allowing workers increased mobility.

The Bad

Having said that, BYOD practices are not free from security concerns. More and more mobile devices provide greater scope for ways to breach a company’s IT infrastructure.

Some employees may not be as stringent as they should be about the information they bring home that could be highly sensitive or confidential. Once they take it out of the office, there’s nothing stopping them from sharing it across devices, networks, emails or even showing it to their family and friends.

Disgruntled employees about to walk out the door pose an even bigger threat. If they are leaving to work for a competitor, BYOD makes it easier for them to take intellectual property with them. Alternatively, if an employee uses a smartphone to access the company network then loses it or it's stolen, an unauthorized person could retrieve unsecured data on the device. Staff can also sell their devices or give them away and forget to wipe company data beforehand.

And The Necessary

A good BYOD policy should contain two critical components: an application or software program for managing the devices connected to your organization’s networks, and a written agreement that clearly states the responsibilities of employers and staff.

For example, IT departments wishing to monitor the use of personal devices must ensure that they only monitor activities that access company information.

Software developers and device manufacturers are constantly releasing security patches and updates for threats such as viruses and malware. BYOD policies should have the necessary processes in place to automatically apply those patches across all the agreed BYOD devices.

Additionally, organizations can simplify the whole process by limiting the number or make of devices allowed in their BYOD programs and the systems they have to support. Supporting a broad range of devices could become an administrative nightmare.

The IT department should also have permission to remotely wipe the device if it's lost, the employee leaves or if it detects a data breach, virus or any other threat to its infrastructure.

BYOD should satisfy employees and management alike, as long as there's a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities. Before settling on the best BYOD policy for your organization, it's worth getting input from employees, HR, IT, finance, legal and anyone else who has a stake in the matter.

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How SMBs can use Technology to Compete with Big Brands

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Taking on Goliath: how SMBs can Compete with Multinationals

The world’s biggest multinationals will see their profit growth drop by up to 5% over the next decade, according to a recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute.

That’ll leave a void in the global market that small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) will fill. McKinsey predicts these companies will occupy 45% of the Fortune 500 list by 2025.

This remarkable shift is possible because of the technological tools small businesses now have at their disposal. With the following advantages, smaller companies are taking on the multinationals like David and the Goliath.

1. Increased flexibility

SMBs can take advantage of their small size and agility to seize new opportunities before bigger competitors can react. And, thanks to scalable cloud computing services, larger businesses are losing their old advantages, like dedicated IT infrastructures and in-house expertise.

Forbes predicts that 78 percent of small businesses will have adopted cloud computing solutions by 2020. With access to on-demand resource provisioning, even the smallest businesses can compete with the multinationals. If you are not already using the cloud, it's not too late. Current Technologies can have a cloud platform up and running within days to aid in your fight against the large multinationals.

2. Increased Visibility

The goal of marketing is to share a specific message with a specific audience. Or, if your product has universal appeal, with as large an audience as possible. Multinationals used to have all the advantages when it came to marketing, with plenty of money to buy radio and TV slots, place full-page ads in magazines and newspapers, and hire full-time PR and marketing teams.

Google and social media have changed that forever.

With Google AdSense, small businesses can promote their services to an audience whose search terms identify them as likely customers. And social media platforms allow SMBs to find and connect directly with their customers no matter where in the world they are.

3. Increased Understanding

Sophisticated data analysis used to be reserved for multinationals with enough money for full-time "data mining" teams. But the rise of Big Data has made analytics tools available to SMBs and even individual businesspeople.

Google Analytics and InsightSquared allow SMBs to mine their data for valuable insights and turn them into easy-to-read infographics. With easily read and usable data, the possibilities are endless. You can 

An (Almost) Level Playing Field

To be sure, multinationals still possess some advantages. For example, some own their entire supply and distribution networks, which means they can "outship" smaller companies and reach consumers first.

The good news, however, is that SMBs are in a better position than ever before to compete. Using new technologies, they too can connect with customers across the globe and carve out a space for themselves in the fast-shifting global marketplace for goods, services and ideas.

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