With the growing prevalence of wireless networks being used in workplaces, the “Bring Your Own Device” habit is increasingly seen with modern employees. Why should an employee have to use a company-specific computer or smartphone when they can simply access the office network through their own devices? It seems like a logical step for most companies to take, giving their employees a higher level of freedom and accessibility—in the hopes of increased productivity.
However, alongside the advantages of the BYOD trend are some hidden dangers.
The Risk vs. Convenience Factors of BYOD
The convenience elements of BYOD can’t be argued, both for businesses as a whole and employees on a personal level. Companies can save large amounts of money by allowing a BYOD policy, as they then don’t have to purchase new equipment for every worker. Employees can enjoy the familiarity of their device, which has, no doubt, been optimized for their specific usage and preferences.
But take into consideration the security risks this sort of usage entails. In an age where virtual data security is as critical as physical property security (if not more so), each device that can access a wireless network then becomes a potential threat. Especially if specific users set their device for lower levels of access control and authorization. When security measures aren’t standard across the entire network, it also makes it more difficult to know whether or not a flaw has been introduced into the system that could be exposed and abused at any time.
It’s not just an issue for firewalls and antivirus programs. Bring Your Own Device allowance can put a business’ data at risk if a device is simply misplaced. If a smartphone or tablet that has access to a company’s database is lost and falls into the wrong hands, then it becomes a wide open door for data theft or even corporate sabotage.
Where’s the BYOD Balance?
For employees who wish to choose their own operating systems and devices, a BYOD policy is a great boon, allowing for greater flexibility and personalization. Employees must also recognize, though, that the device and data on it can become, in part, company property.
For companies that have instated or are considering adopting a BYOD policy, the greatest concern is having a vulnerable network and losing management control over company property and data. In the end, a business must decide whether the effort required to maintain such a fluid network is worth the financial savings and early adopter tech incorporation, which can provide greater industry agility.