Productivity, Security & Privacy: Finding the Right Balance with Your BYOD Program

Aug 8, 2019 | BYOD

Businesses of any size can benefit greatly from a bring your own device (BYOD) program. These programs, however, must be strategically planned and executed if an enterprise is expected to make the most of them, and to do that, you have to find just the right balance of productivity, security, and privacy.

A recent study by Bitglass found that 85% of enterprises allow their employees to use their personal devices for work through BYOD programs. A well-executed program will boost employee satisfaction, as well as their mobility, but using personal devices to connect to business networks raises many security and privacy concerns.

To help alleviate these potential issues, developing a BYOD program must involve more than just the IT team. Be sure to include HR, legal, and operations in the strategy, too. When you strike the right balance between productivity, security, and privacy, your organization will be able to design a program that fits it perfectly.

Increase Productivity with a BYOD Program

According to a study by Frost & Sullivan (sponsored by Samsung), employees who use their own devices at work can save up to 58 minutes a day, which equates to a roughly 34% increase in productivity.

The reasons for this vary, but they include:

  • Employees are more familiar with their personal devices, which allows them to work more efficiencly.
  • Personal devices allow for more freedom for employees to work when and where they desire.
  • If any crises arise, employees can be more readily available.
  • A BYOD program can improve communication. In a survey by WorkJam, 69% of employees responded that such a program may be the answer to scheduling and communication issues.

Above all, BYOD programs can also often increase morale and happiness.

Securing Your Data and Networks

Despite the benefits, there are some concerning security shortcomings when employees use their own devices for work, and for a BYOD program to succeed, all enterprises, big or small, must consider these potential liabilities.

Employee-owned devices increase the risk of data loss, data leakage, hacking, and cyberattacks. These devices tend to go just about anywhere with their owner, so if they are accidentally left somewhere, they could potentially fall into the wrong hands. Then, not only will any data that’s on the device be at risk, but so too will corporate networks, such as VPNs, which could lead to further data loss.

Considering the number of apps that most employees would naturally install onto their personal devices, this is another obvious source of security concerns. Malware-infected apps could easily compromise the mobile device, as well as any data on it, and any visits to compromised websites could infect the device, as well. Employees may also accidentally download malicious files.

One precaution to take that will help prevent these situations is by having your IT department utilize mobile device management software, but that raises privacy concerns, bringing us full circle in our balancing act.

Protecting Your Employees’ Privacy

Today, most users have what practically amounts to the story of their entire life contained within their mobile devices, and if you’re considering a BYOD program, this personal data must also be taken into consideration.

Monitoring the devices enrolled in your BYOD program will grant you access to this personal data, so it’s important to communicate these privacy implications to anyone who is part of the program.

While BYOD programs can greatly boost the productivity of your enterprise, small businesses more so, it’s imperative that you strike a quality balance between these boosts, privacy, and security. A program that doesn’t take all of these factors into consideration will ultimately cost the enterprise in the long run.

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