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Bring Your Own Device

As technology becomes smaller and faster, the modern business model of working in-house is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Laptops, smartphones and tablets are increasingly popular in the business world, making day-to-day business functions incredibly mobile. From presentations to video conferences, the devices many of us have for personal use are now our new offices.

Considering most people are already familiar with their own devices, do you really need to purchase and upgrade companywide, mobile technology?

Many companies around the U.S. are adopting a bring your own device (BYOD) policy that enables employees to use their personal smartphones or laptops for work purposes. It is estimated that over 50% of businesses around the world will adopt some form of this policy by the end of 2017.

This will allow your workforce to be completely mobile without having to update your IT infrastructure, saving your company thousands of dollars. While one of the biggest problems facing BYOD is the potential of a security breach-- which can be detrimental to your business-- there are a few things you can do to prepare taking on BYOD.

Embrace the Change

It’s understandable that companies are a little skittish about opening themselves up and allowing employees access to company data on their own accord. With the recent “WannaCry” and “Petya” attacks, many businesses feel vulnerable, and a BYOD policy only increases the chance of a cyberattack.

However, our culture is becoming increasingly dependent on these devices, meaning that if people want to use their personal iPhone or laptop to work, they will find a way. Getting ahead of the BYOD trend and diving in head first might be the most effective way to prevent any form of security breaches. This will allow your business to monitor and keep track of what personal devices are being used, and respond to a security breach accordingly.

Appoint a Leader, Develop a Strategy

If your company is thinking about moving towards BYOD, it is important that you assign someone to oversee all facets of this new policy. By having a leader dedicated to the specific BYOD functions, you will keep IT from being overwhelmed, and make sure your company data is never compromised.

This leader should then create a document that outlines the overall BYOD policy and the rules employees are required to follow. This contract should cover everything from what to do if your device is stolen, to what data can be allowed on the device. Supplement this with your user agreement policy and reinforce basic security protocols, and you’ll be well on your way to implementing BYOD.

Let these Devices Work for You

Clearly outlining what to do and not to do under your BYOD strategy is a good jumping off point, but it needs to be reinforced. Imagine you’re a parent and your employees are your children. You’ve decided to let your kids have access to your bank account. What would you do to ensure they don’t run off with all your money? You train them, condition them and apply an extensive amount of security measures.

To be absolutely certain that no one other than your employee has access to these devices, first have them register their personal device with IT. Then, use an authentication system instead of passwords. When using the application to access company data, provide temporary passwords for a limited amount of time, making it difficult for anyone other than the employee to use the device.

Even simply reinforcing common sense when it comes to device usage--reminding employees how essential keeping their devices safe is-- can go a long way in improving security. Humans make mistakes, so the occasional reminder of what is at stake when bringing your own device is absolutely necessary.

BYOD is the way of the future. The last few years have seen a massive increase of mobility in the modern workforce, enabling companies to work more efficiently while saving money on technology costs. Understanding the risks and creating a plan to minimize potential threats to your data is the first step to creating a healthy BYOD strategy within your workplace.

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