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Does BYOD mean "Bring Your Own Damage"?



Author: Ronda Swaney

Some enterprises continue to oppose Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) because they fear the damage that may result from an influx of devices they can't secure. Many of those fears are reasonable. BYOD can make "acceptable use" policy enforcement tricky. It's hard to tell someone what they can and can't do with a device they paid for themselves.

If an employee leaves the company or loses a device, there are worries about security and data loss. A few businesses try to compromise by imposing limits on device types and brands from which employees can choose. That may seem like a reasonable middle ground, but employees often resent it if their preferred device isn't on the approved list. They also resent the need to manage both work and personal devices.

BYOD opposition is a losing battle

If you're still against BYOD, you're in the minority. According to a survey by Tech Pro Research, 74 percent of companies either already allow or are planning to allow employees to use personal devices for work. In another key finding, the report revealed that security concerns are the most common reasons that companies rule out BYOD.

While you may fight it, there's value in being a mobile-friendly company. Overwhelmingly, employees prefer to use the devices they're comfortable with, and it increases their use and lowers the learning threshold.

For the business, this can lower technology costs, since employees purchase the devices themselves. Employees also tend to keep software on their own devices up-to-date, removing that task from the IT department's to-do list.

When BYOD is the norm, your employees use the latest devices with the newest features. When the company controls the devices, getting the latest and greatest phone isn't a high priority, which can keep your workforce perpetually behind the technology curve.

An aversion to BYOD may also lead to hiring and retention problems. Millennial employees, more than any other group, continue to blur the lines between their personal and work lives. They will feel unnecessarily restrained and controlled if they can't use their own devices to work when and how they choose.

Winning BYOD policies focus on more than the device

The first BYOD policies often focused only on the devices themselves. Today, the apps used by the device and the data access permissions given to the user are just as important.

Strong policies now focus on all three areas: devices, apps, and access. Focus has shifted to securing apps and data no matter what device accesses them. According to HPE, "...your app ecosystem comprises personal apps, third-party apps, and SaaS apps in addition to enterprise apps. These apps can be thick-client, installable binaries, mobile apps or something browser-based. You need to understand the risks that each brings." A strong policy should address the following:

Encryption. Plan for encryption protections to safeguard your data throughout its lifetime (in transit and at rest). Compel users to access business servers only through approved apps that use encrypted connections. Employ systems that report the "who, what, and when" of all connections made to your network.

Ability to revoke access. Put in place a system that allows the business to revoke access privileges if an employee leaves the company or if the personal device is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised. The BYOD policy for all employees should state this explicitly.

Centralized data storage. Centralized storage means that backup and security are managed at the enterprise level. If you store data without persistence, the user can access the information without it being permanently stored in the device.

Two-factor authentication. Your policy should mandate two-factor authentication. This helps ensure that if the device falls into the wrong hands, a cached password won't mistakenly grant access, opening up an easy avenue to sensitive company data.

Strong security policies can help you confidently unleash the full potential of BYOD and we have comprehensive tools to get you there: create a mobile-first and mobile-friendly enterprise with our HPE Digital Collaboration and HPE Intelligent Spaces for Meetings services.

BYOD_5_5_16.jpgStrong security policies help unleash the full potential of BYOD.

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