‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) culture is being embraced by businesses around the world, with up to 85% of organisations already jumping on board. Interestingly, many are even allowing contractors, partners, customers and suppliers to access company data on their personal devices.1
So what does this mean for the security of your business IT? While the use of BYOD certainly has its benefits – increased productivity and reduced costs, to name a few – it’s not without its risks. Security threats and the impact of cyber scammers is a serious concern for businesses today – and the adoption of BYOD only makes it more prevalent.
But there are ways to mitigate the impact. Ideally, with the support of a Managed IT Service partner who has the expertise and resources to ensure your business IT remains secure, whatever device is used. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits, risks and future of the BYOD era.
BYOD: Changing the way we work
New, flexible ways of working – this is the future of business, and BYOD is one aspect that’s helping us make the change. So what are the benefits that it brings for businesses and employees alike?
An increasing number of employees already own powerful devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. If they already have them, why not make the most of them? Cisco is a strong advocate of BYOD, quoting their own cost savings of 17-22% since embracing the change.2
How did they save this much? It’s simple, really. Not only do they no longer have the initial outlay for buying or leasing devices, they also don’t have to worry about ongoing maintenance costs. This last part is especially true, given most employees are far more likely to take better care of their devices if they belong exclusively to them.
By having a BYOD policy at work, employees have the freedom to use devices that they prefer. This means they’re far more familiar with their operating systems and have tailored their usage to suit their individual preferences. All of this leads to an increase in productivity for your business, as employees will spend less time trying to understand new, unfamiliar operating systems.
Improved job satisfaction
Allowing BYOD at work means employees no longer have to carry separate devices for work and personal use, a common complaint. The option to choose a device they prefer and understand how to use is also a strong positive for many employees, leading to improved satisfaction at work.
Lastly, if employees are paying for their own devices, that’s money the company can then redirect towards another area, such as employee perks or events – sounds satisfying to us!
Employees who take advantage of a BYOD policy are far more likely to update their software or hardware more regularly than a business that typically only refresh their IT capability every 3-5 years. More importantly, when employees are able to work more productively, and are more satisfied in their job, they’re in a better position to innovate. By leveraging the modern technologies they have access to, they can develop more efficient ways of doing their job.
How can the use of BYOD impact your business IT?
So far it sounds like there’s plenty of positives to adopting a BYOD culture at work. But that’s not to say it shouldn’t be considered carefully. In fact, 30% of enterprise businesses cite company security concerns as the leading reason for not adopting BYOD.1
Specifically, they’re concerned about data leakage, unauthorised data access, and the inability to control uploads and downloads, all of which can have a significant impact on your business IT.
To make matters worse, one in five companies that have adopted a BYOD policy lack visibility into basic mobile apps like email, and only 56% of companies have access to key functionality, such as remotely removing sensitive data from lost or stolen devices.1
Some of the main impacts BYOD can have on your business IT include:
Phishing is an attempt by a scammer to gain access to your company’s network. The end goal is to either discover personal identifiable information, distribute a virus throughout the network, or both. Typically, this comes in the form of fraudulent emails that trick users into installing software containing a virus.
While phishing attempts can happen on company-supplied devices as well, as BYODs are not typically supplied with antivirus software and up-to-date firewalls, they’re far more susceptible.
Free Wi-Fi hotspots are becoming more popular in public places, such as in coffee shops and airports. As these networks are typically unsecured, they can quickly become a gateway to information theft. Scammers can set up their own Wi-Fi hotspots, and once your employee links to it, they can steal their login information. If your employee is using a BYOD, this quickly becomes a problem for the security of your business IT.
Mitigating the risk of BYOD
At present, only 30% of companies are confident they’re properly defending against malware on BYOD.1 Given how many have already taken up a BYOD policy, this number is shockingly low.
To reduce the threat to your business IT, you should ensure your employees are always doing the following:
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Installing mobile wipe capabilities if the device is lost or stolen
- Connecting to a secured, private Wi-Fi network, or using a VPN that will encrypt data even if they do connect to a fake hotspot.
Most importantly, companies should take a proactive approach to business IT security, and the best way to do so is by partnering with a Managed IT Services provider that can support the use of BYOD, and ensure your business is protected at all times.
A holistic solution for your business IT
At Spirit, we provide Managed IT Services, along with our Sky-Speed Internet and Unified Communications solutions – making us your one-stop-shop for all things business IT. Contact one of our specialists today to learn how we can help you protect your business from scammers in the BYOD era.