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Making the Switch to BYOD? Pros, Cons and Security Implications to Consider First


Making the switch to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) business environment extends well beyond the decision to let employees choose their devices. Your business should look at the pros and cons of the concept before deciding how to approach it and to what extent your company will embrace it. Your business needs might better work with partial BYOD over complete BYOD.

The BYOD concept requires making adjustments to your business culture by shifting the role of security toward your entire staff. It’s crucial for businesses to focus on BYOD-related security risks before opening the gates.

The Pros of BYOD

The big lure of BYOD is it can dramatically reduce hardware and administration expenses. Employees likely already use their personal devices for some work-related tasks; this approach simply makes it official. Both the business and its workers stand to benefit, because employees may invest more effort in taking care of hardware when they have both a personal and a professional stake. BYOD also allows for device consolidation: Employees only need to keep track of one phone at work instead of two.

Employees develop preferences for specific brands, platforms and form factors based on how well their tools help them do their jobs.

A BYOD workplace enables employees to choose devices they are familiar and comfortable with, which can increase productivity. Employees like BYOD because they can pick the tools they want. BYOD helps businesses avoid situations where employees are stuck using devices they tolerate in exchange for devices they are more likely to love, which ultimately makes employees happier.

The Cons of BYOD

Unfortunately, much of the money saved through hardware and administration expenses can come back in the form of higher support costs. Because employees will inevitably choose a large range of devices, your business won’t have the same level of standardization. This makes it impossible to have a uniform approach to end-user support. Support will have to manage a much larger range of potential issues. Additionally, BYOD can result in incompatibility issues in which devices can’t access essential services or use necessary software.

The Essential BYOD Security Concerns

While increased device diversity means that a hacker will have a more difficult time using the same exploit to access multiple devices on your business network, BYOD is much more heavy-handed in “cons” for security. The following are just some of the many security issues facing BYOD workplaces:

  • Businesses face a loss of control for software security. BYOD workplaces can’t rely on IT to make sure all employees implement all software security updates and keep approved security software running on all devices.
  • IT may not be able to support a given device because it is employee owned. A crash may result in lost work and information that would’ve been saved on a business-owned device.
  • Employees need to implement and maintain their own data backup practices.
  • Businesses have less control over workplace device-use monitoring because of employee privacy concerns.
  • Registering a large number of BYOD devices for work use can be burdensome.
  • Companies may encounter difficulties in wiping a lost device, which can expose confidential business information.
  • A business may need to switch to cloud-based applications in order to better protect business information.
  • Organizations face potential problems with HIPAA compliance, especially if someone steals information.

A security-first culture is more important than ever in businesses that use BYOD. Is your Bay Area business looking to adopt a BYOD strategy? The IT consulting experts at MPA Networks can help; contact us today.

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