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Is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) a Secure Option for Businesses?

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Amid a rise in businesses adopting the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy at work, protecting company resources and assets has become critical. There are several advantages associated with bringing your own device to work. The most common advantages include increased productivity, convenience, and better work/life balance. However, as more and more devices are connected to corporate networks, the risks of data breaches and cyber attacks also increase.

What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a program, or corporate culture wherein employees get permission to work from their devices or systems like laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. The companies allow workers using the BYOD model to access corporate resources, data and assets, access the organization's network, and work on sensitive corporate projects. 

According to the prediction of BetaNews, the BYOD market will likely touch (approx.) US$ 367 billion by 2022 from US$ 30 billion in 2014. Cisco says companies can save US$ 350 per employee per year by enabling the BYOD culture.

Is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) a secure option?

Because workers often use numerous applications and public Wi-Fi, corporate executives and managers need to be concerned about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) security. According to the Tech Republic, 80 percent of IT business leaders believe that corporate professionals require smartphones to do their jobs. Since companies are allowing employees to bring personal smartphones and laptops, the former must employ robust policies and security measures to enhance employee productivity and device security. 

Though a company may draft robust and stringent policies, there is no guarantee that the corporate data within the personal devices of the employees will remain secure. Since these devices might have existing security vulnerabilities, employees should be discouraged from using the devices without the approval and sanction of the IT department.

Pros and Cons of BYOD Practice

Although the BYOD model brings numerous benefits to companies and employees, it carries certain drawbacks, too.

Pros:

  • Improves productivity

BYOD practices and policies boost the productivity of the employees. Employees can bring and use devices they prefer.

  • Seamless onboarding

New employees do not need the training to use their devices. Also, employees do not have to adapt to a new system or environment under the BYOD model.

  • Fewer laptops

Companies do not have to buy separate corporate laptops for work. On the other hand, employees do not have to carry personal and office laptops while travelling.

Cons:

  • Lack of on-device security

Employees' systems and devices might lack security features like firewalls, anti-malware, and other essential end-point security solutions. The onus is on companies to ensure their workers' devices are secure.

  • Data breaches

BYOD practices and policies enable employees to store sensitive corporate data and projects in their systems. Since these systems do not come with proper patching of apps and security updates, the corporate resources remain prone to data theft or other potentially dangerous risks. Again, if the employee's device gets misplaced, compromised, or stolen, it can pose a severe threat to the company's data.

  • Complex attack surface

Amid a large-scale adoption of the BYOD model, the IT security team needs to employ and monitor a large variety of security measures to make the device secure from threats. With an increase in scope and complexity in ensuring security, IT teams often struggle to gauge the exact impact of a threat or cyberattack.

Conclusion 

While it is a significant cultural shift, BYOD culture is still in its early stages and requires further refinement before becoming an industry norm. For companies, it is essential to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of allowing BYOD before formulating policies to ensure a secure working environment for all.