Industryweek 6526 Digital

BYOD: Three Tips for Device Security in the Age of the Big Data Breach

April 17, 2014
Bring your own device policies open up a world of worker mobility and empowerment. But manufacturers must approach BYOD with careful consideration, an open mind and a focus on security.

It’s tough to ignore the desire workers have for using personal mobile devices on the job, whatever the time of day, whatever the demands of the job — my own included.

I’m happy to encourage a BYOD policy in my workplace, but within reason and with deliberate intention.

Bring your own device policies open up a world of possible places to work, offers employees immense flexibility and agility, but not without propagating security risks to manufacturers.

Great strides were made in the past few years to keep IT help desks nimble with multiple devices, but sometimes accidents happen. When they do, the costs cause us to pause because they can, on occasion, outweigh the benefits.

A good BYOD policy should be designed to work best for both the company and its employees.

Here are some BYOD alerts and principles to consider when moving forward.

1. Employee Satisfaction vs. Cost Risk

Would your workers actually be happier if they could access their work anywhere, anytime from their own devices?

BYOD could be a fantastic option for some potential administrative demands like email, scheduling, and communicating with clients and coworkers. While BYOD policies cut costs on company hardware and allow workers to be on the clock whenever they’re needed, the tertiary costs could add up.

From the honest mistake of leaving an unlocked phone in a cab to the possibility of a coffee shop hacker accessing sensitive project data, the risks of working with your own device from any place can be substantial.

When it comes to lock-tight security for the data you’re work with, not to mention the data your machines are creating, the best option is a device that is turned on in the morning, shut off at the end of the day, and left in the office.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

2. Be Ahead of the Sharpest Curve

Your employees may already be anticipating the next tech craze, and whether or not that’s your cup of tea, if you're reading this, it means you are already monitoring IndustryWeek for breaking technology news.

A BYOD policy will require an IT department that is equally zealous about the leading tech trends, ranging from exciting new operating systems to malicious viruses that clobber the best constructed security strategy.

More devices with varying security mean more cracks for important data to leak through.

Constant technology change requires constant vigilance. This will pose an added cost on organizations and the need to be extra vigilant to keep up.

3. Do You Eat Your Own Dog Food?

If your company is already analyzing workplace data, BYOD could be a fantastic policy.

Does your IT department monitor employee network use and security? Do your employees sign a contract at the beginning of their term of employment acknowledging consent of device review, in spite of hardware ownership?

If your company is meeting these standards, you’re well on your way to building a framework for a successful BYOD policy for your high tech enterprise.

Without already using data analytics to monitor what is happening on devices, though, BYOD can become a tricky policy to navigate and enforce.

BYOD opens up a world of worker mobility and empowerment, and allows the cloud to be harnessed with strength. Approach your policy with intention and embrace the trend with security of mind and enterprise.

Radhika Subramanian is the CEO of big data analytics firm, Emcien.

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