One way to make sure you have happy employees is to let them work with the devices they’re already comfortable with. Allowing them to connect to your network and access the data they need to complete their assignments on their own laptops, without the restrictions of corporate devices, will make for a satisfied worker.
This is commonly referred to as Bring Your Own Device or BYOD.
Not only that, you’ll be happy not having to give out hardware with every hire. But, then again, there are risks that come with letting employees connect to your servers and network with machines and gadgets that may be compromised.
Before you open the network gates to your employees, let’s have a look at some BYOD security issues you should be on the lookout for.
1. Data loss or theft
Laptops, tablets and smart phones attract many a thieves’ attention. In fact, according to one study, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds while around 70 million phones are lost every single year.
Every device you allow to connect to your network will retain some data. When the device is lost, you risk losing that data as well. While most thefts occur simply for the value of the device itself, you can never rule out the intentions of corporate espionage or an attempt to gain access to your clients’ personal information.
2. Lax password and security implementation
Let’s admit it, while you might adhere to strict password policies at the office, you may let your guard down when it comes to your personal devices. Whether because of laziness or thinking there really isn’t any valuable information anyone would be interested in, we all have a laxer attitude when it comes to our personal gadgets.
Bringing these gadgets onto your network will lower your security barriers – a compromised gadget could be used to wreak havoc on your business’ data.
3. Exposure of data
If you allow your workers to access your data on their own devices, they may be doing so remotely, which means they’ll access your network over the internet. Anyone with a basic packet sniffer could hijack or alter the data being sent between your staff and your servers over the internet.
Your staff could also be using devices infected with Trojans or run apps that were designed to steal data without even knowing it.
4. Mixing of personal and business data
Using a personal device on a business network will introduce and expose the user’s data, not to mention any other family or friends’ data who also use this device.
Having your workers’ personal information accidently shared on your network could create an embarrassing situation or, in worst case scenarios, exposure of personal and financial information that puts them at risk of identity theft.
Similarly, your business’ data being exposed to other users means they can tamper with or delete critical information.
Another serious problem with BYOD? Employees may not be able to connect to your business networks at all. Incompatibility between your servers or network and your employees’ gadgets could require you to invest in upgrades or newer hardware.
Of course, there should be a middle ground you and your employees are comfortable with. You should ultimately compromise on upgrades or new features that’ll allow for smooth data transfer and secure communication.
What can you do about BYOD security issues?
With so many security issues, should you abandon your BYOD plans and stick to doing it the old fashioned way? No way! Modernizing is essential for any company’s success, you just need to take some measures to prevent a digital disaster from hitting your business. These can include:
- Implementing and enforcing a strict policy that covers everything from basic security to data download, usage and its storage on the personal devices
- Securing connections with strict user and password policies
- Encrypting your data as it goes to and returns from remote devices
- Scanning devices and applications for viruses and malware before granting them access
With carefully developed and strictly implemented policies, you can implement a BYOD environment and enjoy its benefits securely.
Is implementing BYOD worth it?
Is it ultimately worth it allowing your employees to use their own devices to log on to your network? Yes, you just need to ensure you keep a close eye on your system’s security, which you should be doing anyway, whether you have remote workers or not. It’ll be more convenient for your workers, who will be happier and more productive in the long run.