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Now that most employees in the B.V.I. are working from home, there is now a common factor between the home network and the corporate office network, the employee’s device. Most of the employees use their own device or employers provide devices for them. These devices range from mobile phones, notebooks/laptops and tablets.
This practice of allowing employees to use their own devices is known as Bring Your Own Device (B.Y.O.D.). Honestly, B.Y.O.D. is complicated, and has its fair share of challenges. On the one hand it saves businesses the hassle of having to supply corporate devices to employees and it gives employees the freedom to use a device of their choice. On the other hand, B.Y.O.D. opens up businesses to a slew of security risks, like data leakage, lost devices and increased vulnerability to malware. Businesses face the challenge of finding a way to separate the personal and the business on devices—and while mobile device management is one way to do it, employee resistance and cost can make it that less than feasible. The remote environment in which these devices are used may also pose risks. As much as the thought of the practice is worrisome from a security perspective, it however has its advantages.
Advantages of B.Y.O.D.
- Reduced Costs: Although not every organization will see cost savings from a B.Y.O.D. policy, many organizations will save money because they don’t have to purchase devices for each employee. Employees are generally more likely to take better care of their own devices, which saves money on repairs. Organizations that purchase smartphones with voice and data plans for their employees may benefit from additional cost savings
- Increased Employee Satisfaction & Productivity: Another advantage of B.Y.O.D. policy is increased employee productivity. This is due to the fact that users are more comfortable and familiar with their personal devices. Employees can take full advantage of their device and its features because they are an expert at navigating the device. Generally, employees will be more satisfied because they have the opportunity to select the device that they prefer, rather than having one selected for them. Plus, employees are more likely to check their email and work at night if they are on their own devices.
- Increased Flexibility: B.Y.O.D. programs offer good flexibility. They offer new mobile workforce opportunities, as employees can work anywhere at any time. With increased flexibility, organizations are more likely to attract more top-performing employees.
Disadvantages of B.Y.O.D.
- Opportunities for Data Theft: Most users do not really take note of the security of networks they use their devices. Free Wi-Fi at an airport or pub can be great to send a quick work email from your device but oftentimes these tend to be very insecure. Home networks themselves are not entirely secure, especially if no investment is made in security.
- Malware Infiltration: Employees use their devices to download all sorts of information and may not be careful about separating and securing valuable company data from everything else. What happens if they inadvertently pirated software or a mobile game with hidden malware or viruses? They could end up passing it right into the company network the next time they log in.
- Device Loss or Theft: An employee losing a device or having it stolen can go from a big inconvenience to a disaster for the entire company if they didn’t follow recommended company security protocols. What if they didn’t have a secure password for logging into company systems? Did they make passwords easy to find by storing them somewhere on their device? Even if the worker did everything correctly, hackers now have access to more sophisticated technology. Someone with enough determination and skill can crack a secure password or thumbprint identifier.
With all this in mind not all hope is lost in this “new normal” where the traditional workplace is becoming a thing of the past. With proper device management and user education, B.Y.O.D. policies can be beneficial. You can consult with us at Infinite Solutions and we can recommend the right devices and services to help secure your home network or to better manage and secure employee device access to corporate networks. We can also have a discussion about Mobile Device Management (MDM) or simply implementing effective B.Y.O.D. policies. We also stock a variety of devices for those who want to upgrade their old devices to modern devices running secure up to date systems. As technology develops and the world moves forward, more risks arise as well. The good news is, there are many solutions and more on the way.
Our next blog topic will take us further in to the world of tech and networking. If there’s something about technology, networking or any tech talk that you would like more information on, then let us know. Our team at Infinite Solutions looks forward to uncovering and discovering solutions for the Virgin Islands with you. Leave a comment and share. Let’s find the solutions that we need, technically speaking.