Thinking about making the change to your bring your own device (BYOD) policies at the office? Companies that have allowed employees to bring and use their own devices at work do face a number of unique security issues, but they also see a number of benefits. Employees often work better and faster if they’re using devices they are comfortable with, even if they’re using them at the office and not at home.
However, you do have to be very careful that you’re not opening yourself up to a number of risks. Let’s take a look at the five components that can make a successful and safe BYOD policy deployment. By incorporating these components into your own BYOD plan, you can protect yourself and let employees use the devices they want.
Make Sure Your Employees are Happy
One reason to implement BYOD culture is to make your employees happy, so make sure you actually create policy that accomplishes this as much as possible. Many employees want the newest, fanciest equipment, and in most cases, that’s the tech they own. Companies do tend to be several models behind the latest devices, so by letting employees bring in their newest models, you’re letting them have the gear they want.
This can go a long way in improving employee satisfaction, which may be an intangible metric but is quite important. Keeping your employees happy keeps them motivated and productive. Just be sure your BYOD policy includes things you know your employees want, such as privacy on their personal devices. The company shouldn’t have the right to go through anyone’s family photos or personal texts. Make sure these privacy policies are clearly written out in the employee handbook, as well as any instances in which your IT or HR departments do need access to employee devices.
Incorporate Built-in Management into your Tools
With devices coming and going, it can be hard to know which are accessing your network and your data at any given time. Mobile device management tools can help you keep track of all of this while leaving your employees free to use the devices they want. By incorporating built-in tools on your network and to any internal apps you develop and distribute to employees, you can add additional layers of security.
There are a number of network security tips to keep in mind here, too. For example, you may allow all devices to access email programs and software, but you may want to carefully restrict employee devices from being able to access sensitive data. Some files should only be accessed by secure computers you know will not leave the office.
Remember that BYOD Can Reduce Costs
Your employees are bringing and using their own devices at work, which means you don’t have to purchase computers, tablets, smartphones, and other equipment. This means you can reallocate a good portion of your equipment budget to other needs. You may have to spend more money addressing some BYOD security challenges, of course, but you’re still going to save a good amount of money. Even in cases where employers are subsidizing devices for their employees, you’re still likely to see some savings.
Saving money isn’t always a side effect of moving to a BYOD environment. According to a survey done by Crowd Research Partners and cited in BizTech, almost half of all companies that shifted to a BYOD culture did so because they saw the potential savings.
Security is Still a Concern
Of course, security is still going to be an issue, and you won’t want to let employee satisfaction completely blind you to that. There are likely going to be cases where you have to put security ahead of what your employees want, and that’s okay.
However, moving to a BOYD environment doesn’t mean lessening your security. In fact, it can actually mean strengthening your security if you bring in virtual desktop technology. This technology can secure mobile devices plus your own office computers. Everything needed is secured in a data center and is accessible only by those with the correct credentials.
Protecting this data center is easier than protecting multiple computers and other devices. You only have to keep one server updated with the latest antivirus tools, for example, since all other devices have access to this software via the cloud. You can also take measures such as using an open source intrusion detection software like Snort.
This software will continuously scan your network for suspicious activity. When it finds an application that shouldn’t be running or sees a user attempting to repeatedly access information they do not have clearance for, it alerts you. This will help keep your confidential information safe and secure even with multiple employee devices being used at once.
Boost Your Employee’s Productivity
Every office wants to do what it can to boost its employees’ productivity. Allowing employees to bring their own devices to work can be one such way. In fact, over half of all businesses that responded to the Crowd Research Partners survey stated that they moved to a BYOD environment because it encouraged employee productivity.
In many cases, businesses started by making basic programs available to their employees on their own devices. Many gave employees access to their emails and calendars at first, then expanded to video conferencing tools, cloud apps, inventory systems, and other apps.
All of these tools made it easier for employees to be productive. By using their smartphone instead of company tools, employees can respond to emails, answer texts, take phone calls, scan inventory, and more, all with one device instead of multiple pieces of equipment. Doing all of this with their own device means there’s no learning curve, either, nor do employees need to worry about accidentally taking company devices home at the end of the day
All in all, a BYOD environment may seem like it’s full of many challenges, but thanks to evolving security tools and policies, many companies have found that allowing their employees to bring and use their own devices actually saves money and makes employees happier and more productive.