Posted by Gemma Randazzo
Whether you feel that BYOD is here to stay or if you feel it’s a passing trend with a hot buzzword, the reality is that employees are using their own personal devices in the work place more and more. The bigger reality is that not all of those devices have been approved by corporate IT and therefore policies aren’t in place to keep critical data on those devices safe. In a survey by AirTight Networks 37% of people interviewed said that iPads, iPhones and Android devices were sanctioned technology in their environment. Of those same people surveyed 47% said their organizations supported applications that users were accessing. Not too bad. But when further interviewed a whopping 69% said they were concerned that employees were using mobile hotspots to bypass corporate policies and were concerned about the security of data being transmitted.
With the sheer proliferation of smart devices it isn’t hard to deduce that there are a great many people who have just added their company email to their iPhone quickly and easily and didn’t give it a second thought that these devices weren’t sanctioned or a cause for concern. Checking personal and work email on the go is common for the average employee (and with the iPhone for example you can conveniently get both with one tap). So where do organizations go? Can you force an employee to turn over their personal devices when they pay the bill? What if they pay half the bill and the company picks up the other half? As a corporate IT department can you mandate that job security is directly correlated to use of a smart device? The latter is of course extreme but when confidential information is being accessed on an employee’s personal device the loss of that device could significantly hurt an employer.
A “hope for the best” attitude isn’t proactive either. That “hope for the best” attitude was what 22% of those surveyed responded with – hopefully it isn’t an organization that stores medical information or defense information. So what can an organization do? Educating employees and communicating with employees seems elementary but makes sense. Depending on your business simply asking employees to password protect access to their smart phones is a pretty easy route to take and for those organizations who know sensitive information is being access by employees, a mobile device management software solution really eliminates risks. When BYOD’s are treated like the rest of your ruggedized devices and peripherals it makes BYOD a lot less scary.
Whether it’s a lasting trend or simply a blip until the next greatest invention, airing on the side of caution means either way your data is protected.