Are you able to access your computer network at the office with your personal iPad? What about your personal iPhone or your laptop computer? This trend, known as bring-your-own-device or BYOD, is rising in the workplace. It’s a wise idea: When companies encourage employees to bring their own devices to work, these same companies don’t have to spend as much on desktop computers and other high-tech tools. The move also makes sense for workers. Employees will be more familiar with their own devices. And if they bring their personal laptops and tablets to work, they can more easily transport their files, emails and important documents back and forth from home to work.
The Risks of BYOD
All of that sounds great but there are a few risks in adopting a BYOD work environment that should not be disregarded. A writer for ComputerWorld recently wrote a column talking about this. For one, increasing the quantity of devices that are plugged into a network increases the risk of malware attacks. Companies can install anti-virus software on devices they own, but it is tough to regulate the safety measures employees are taking with their personal devices.
Company Information at Risk
At the same time, when employees load delicate workplace data onto their mobile devices, companies face a wholly new set of concerns. What if employees lose their mobile devices? There’s no guarantee that sensitive information won’t fall into the wrong hands. Delaney writes that companies must effectively educate their employees on how to use their mobile devices as safely as possible. Some companies might want to ban outside devices from their networks. That’s not entirely realistic, though. Outside mobile devices help employees do more work more efficiently. Companies don’t want to limit the production of employees by refusing them access to the network with these devices.
The BYOD Trend
It is doubtful that the BYOD trend will fade, especially as more and more people have tablets and smartphones. If companies want to take advantage of the benefits of allowing employees to connect their devices, the thing to focus on then is more education around safely connecting and storing data on these devices.