By Bruno Galera
Employees are using their personal mobile devices for work more than ever. While we’ve seen a 78 percent increase in personal devices accessing corporate networks over the past two years, businesses have been failing to address the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend. Despite concerns about BYOD, 80 percent of companies have not implemented any management policies regarding employees using personal devices, and 90 percent aren’t even aware of the devices accessing their networks.
The biggest concern among employers is the potential loss of property or information. Among those surveyed, 35 percent cited loss or theft of devices as their primary concern and another 27 percent stating the loss of customer or company data through unsecure devices or storage was their biggest worry.
Employees misusing devices came in third with 18 percent of respondents listing it as their biggest issue, mobile malware was the response of 11 percent, and various other concerns accounted for 9 percent.
The key to creating a safe network and protecting you and your customers’ information is to implement a BYOD policy and make sure everyone in your company is aware of it. A first step is setting up separate networks for business-issued hardware and personal devices. Separate networks are important for maintaining security. Second, create an approved list of mobile applications that can be used on your network. Use a device management tool to enforce this policy. Publicizing this list with your employees will help avoid any frustrations that might arise if employees attempt to use unapproved apps. It also may be helpful to allow employees to suggest apps that will make their work easier and have IT check whether these apps will or will not pose security risks.
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
In the important realm of protecting your data, ignoring the potential risks that come with unmanaged access to your networks is likely not going to end well. As with any business risk, you need to identify the situation, assess what level of risk you’re comfortable with, develop a policy that manages that risk, and publicize policies with employees to make compliance as easy as possible. BYOD is still new territory, but acting now and adapting as it evolves is going to keep you protected now and later.