Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD is a widely-used policy among smaller businesses in order to cut down on operating costs. While it may keep a few dollars on the bottom line, could BYOD pose a threat to your business in the long run? Below, we explain the risks of BYOD for small business and how to address those risks.
The Risks of BYOD in the Age of the “Anywhere, Anytime” Workplace
With the proliferation of remote working and the increasing capability of smartphones to replace laptops, small businesses are increasingly accepting BYOD as part of their business models. The advantages include decreased technology costs for the business because the employee provides the device, whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or a cell phone. Presumably the employee is better acquainted with how to use a self-purchased device, which in turn decreases training time and can lead to higher productivity and other business benefits.
But business owners often forget to weigh the pros and cons of BYOD in small business. While the business allowing BYOD may have lower equipment costs, the use of BYOD can pose new security risks. Because such devices are often mobile, the business has little or no control over who has access to the employee’s personal devices when they are out of the office. And these devices can be lost, stolen, or accessed by non-employees. This could put the small business’s data at risk.
Minimizing Security Risks of BYOD for Small Business
The risks of BYOD for small business do not need to outweigh the advantages. Small businesses can take advantage of the positive aspects of BYOD and minimize the risks by developing and implementing comprehensive BYOD policies. Having policies on BYOD security, training, and use is essential to BYOD best practices in WV.
BYOD Policies: Part of BYOD Best Practices in WV
BYOD best practices in WV means implementing policies managing BYOD use. Putting policies into effect on all facets of BYOD use will help keep the company’s processes and data secure while allowing the employee the use of his or her own device for work anywhere, anytime.
The first line of defense is how to limit access to the employee’s mobile device. A simple solution is requiring the employee to keep the device password protected. Most mobile phones, tablets, and laptops have password protection capabilities that are simple to use. Employees also use their own devices for personal use and may allow a spouse or child to use the device as well. In such cases, adding additional password protection to the business’s applications or files would add another layer of protection.
Employees who use mobile devices may also be working outside the office but still need access to the business’s processes, applications, and/or data. A BYOD policies manual should include training the employees on the risks of using public wireless networks and provide alternatives or methods for increasing security, such as the use of a virtual private network (VPN).
The company should also require employees to regularly back up their mobile devices to a designated file storage area. In the event the device is lost or stolen, the employee and the business could continue working from the back-up.
In addition to backing up the data, a comprehensive bring your own device guide for small business should also instruct the employee what to do if his or her mobile device is ever lost or stolen. Employers should require employees to immediately report a lost or stolen device that had access to the company’s systems or data. Once such a report is made, the company can take additional steps to prevent unauthorized access to its network and data.
Similarly, a small businesses may wish to require that the business be able to access employee-owned mobile devices if BYOD is allowed. The purpose is twofold. First, the employer should have the ability to access the device in the event it is lost or stolen in order to retrieve data not yet backed up or to erase the company data on the device. Second, the employer should be able to sever the device’s access to the company network.
Some of the recommendations above are not simple plug and play exercises. If you have questions on how to maintain the security of your business’s files and other risks of BYOD for small business, contact the experienced technicians at ComTech Consulting, LLC by calling (304) 720-8491 or email us at Sales@ComTechSBS.com. We are ready to help you implement BYOD policies to protect the company’s data and systems while allowing your employees the ease and freedom of using their own mobile devices to work anywhere.