To BYOD or to not BYOD
Does your company distribute workplace cell phones? If so, can your employees use those devices however they like?
The digital landscape has always been a little bit of a wild, wild West, but since the pandemic, the rise of remote work has sent shockwaves through the country. Some changes are positive—like the stable demonstration of productivity for employees working from home—and others are negative, like the increased cyber vulnerabilities associated with unsecured home networks.
At the center of these concerns is the conversation around BYOD: Bring Your Own Device.
What is BYOD?
BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, and the acronym refers to the trend of employees using their personal devices to connect to their organizational networks. Whether this is from home or at the office, BYOD is a phrase indicating employees are accessing work-related systems and data from devices not distributed to them by the company. Personal devices could include smartphones, laptops, tablets, or other technology.
BYOD offers some benefits to both employees and companies, but there are several security issues associated with it as well—which might outweigh the “pros.” Here’s what you should consider regarding BYOD policies:
Risks v. Benefits of BYOD
First up—the Pros:
Employee-owned devices mean your company doesn’t have to invest upfront in new tech, whether that’s phones, desktop setups, or laptops. Additionally, it means your employees can work remotely with greater flexibility because they’re at liberty to bring their devices wherever they wish.
Along with flexibility around where your employees can work, some studies have shown an increase in productivity with BYOD policies. This is likely due to the familiarity and comfort employees have with their own devices—leading to more efficient device usage.
As an employer, you can also establish boundaries for work-approved but employee-owned devices, or ensure that you have security in place for company network access.
But we’re going to be real with you: the flexibility might not be worth the risks.
Let’s explore the cons:
BYOD can only be truly safe when devices, especially laptops, are set up properly, with secure network access as a priority. IT administrators need to ensure employees can’t infect the company network by using a personal device. This can be a challenge for employees to set up at home, especially if they’re splitting their time between multiple locations.
With BYOD setups, your employees are in charge of monitoring the patches and updates on their own devices—meaning, they might ignore notifications for weeks. In the same vein, if your employees are using their own devices from home, they could be connecting to an unsecured Wifi network to then access work applications and data. Any data sent over this unsecured network is at risk.
And of course, if an employee is using their own device, it’s in no way guaranteed they have a strong firewall or antivirus software running.
If BYOD isn’t controlled, cybersecurity is the first compromise employees make. When boundaries between personal and professional overlap, individuals and companies are both at increased risk for data breaches and ransomware attacks.
What does Stratti recommend?
We care about finding solutions for your company that balance your need for security and flexibility. But when it comes to best practices, we recommend employees use company-owned devices on the network to ensure proper security of the devices and your network.
If you must use employee-owned devices, we recommend developing strict cybersecurity policies to ensure effective network and data protection.
Wondering what the right balance is for your organization?
Reach out to us with questions at any time.