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BYOD: Is It A Realistic (And Secure) Productivity Method In Business?

It is normal for any developing business has considerable IT problems from time to time. From the common PC problems that we are all very familiar with, all the way through to the most sophisticated of modern viruses and malware, the headwork an IT team undergoes to fix these is strenuous to say the least. When it comes to finding the most suitable methods for a business to maintain its productivity, one of the most common options right now is the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) method. Now, the idea behind BYOD is straightforward enough. It's having your staff bring their own devices into work and use them, which saves you considerable costs. But, is BYOD a realistic security method?

The Implications Of BYOD

In having BYOD, as your predominant method of working, the bearing it has on the business does yield many positives, which we’ll go into later. But the major issues with BYOD relate to many of the inconsistencies any startup company is ubiquitous with. Firstly, as every workforce becomes more and more reliant on smartphones and mobile devices to do their work, this creates a plethora of problems with regards to data leakage. Overall, mobile phones and tablets are notoriously weak when it comes to it attacks. Many businesses have learnt the hard way with this, and now many companies don't provide devices to their employees. Another considerable challenge in BYOD is the mixing of data. As many employees will use personal data and business data on the same device, this begs the question, is there a suitable way to patrol this? Because personal and business data is being mixed, there can be a sense of opening the floodgates on both sides. Malware from personal website surfing can infiltrate the business aspects of the device, and vice versa. On top of this, the regular patch updates mobile devices need can prove to be frustrating for any business, especially if these patches are so regular. This is why businesses need to implement more stringent policies and procedures to keep every aspect of their business safe. When you add into the mix the work involved in patching the software, as well as integrating it into the IT infrastructure to make it compliant with the BYOD processes, this adds another layer of concerns. However, penetration testing is an approach every business should undertake so they can sort out any specific vulnerabilities.

The Positives

Why this all may sound doom and gloom, the positives of the BYOD approach to work means a flexible and dynamic approach to working. Flexibility is a demand by employees now, not a luxury. The BYOD approach means that as employees can use their devices from anywhere and at any time, they are still in keeping with the business as a whole. More and more employees are demanding the option to work from home, and remote working is a capability that every business needs to integrate, or run the risk of losing employees to another, younger and more vibrant business. In keeping on top of the employee happiness game, the access to remote working capabilities means a lot, especially to Millennial and Generation Y employees. But, it's not just all one-sided in favor of the employee. The notion of autonomy in the workplace gives a sense of control back to the employee, which has a positive bearing on you as the entrepreneur and leader. Because so many employees are happier in using their own devices, their productivity is automatically improved. And while the impact of the mobile device is seen across the boards, because the biggest way of gaining custom and business now is via app development, this gives employees a ground floor perspective on proceedings. When hiring a software development company to create these devices for your customers, creating business related apps for your employees to use on and off site can mean a stronger sense of cohesion. And while the mobile device is the most commonly used device in the world, surely it's now time for everybody to jump on this bandwagon, and not rely on static computers? While it's an additional effort for your CIOs to make significant changes to the IT infrastructure, it's beneficial to implement penetration testing and make a comprehensive policy and procedure document so that the systems can be upscaled accordingly.

Is It Really Effective?

From the perspective of the employer, the notions of compliance and privacy are two things that are thrown into this array as far as mobile devices are concerned. You are running the risk of going into surveillance territory if you are keen on monitoring your employees’ working progress. While systems on computers onsite are par for the course when it comes to monitoring progress and metrics, this is an ethical gray area when you consider the idea of monitoring your employees through their phones. Do you actually have the right to monitor their phones if you see something questionable, or can you feel you have the right to wipe data from their device? The other side of the coin is that with your employees using their own devices, it's a free for all with what they want to use on their own phone. This can mean an increase in employee downtime, but now, as so many employees are reticent to give work related devices to their employees, in a bid to save money; this is par for the course. The way to solve this would be good old-fashioned reinforcement of work ethics and encouraging employees to manage their own time in an efficient manner.

On the face of it, Bring Your Own Device is a perfect addition to any workplace. But on the other hand, the impacts from a technological and security based view point throws up a lot of quibbles. BYOD, much like any other new system integration, requires comprehensive patrolling, but also requires appropriate regulation. So, this is nothing different in comparison to all the other process is out there. But with BYOD, the difference is that you are putting the onus onto the employee. This could mean better results, or worse, as far as productivity is concerned. It's your choice.

 

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