In today’s ever-connected world, the line between personal and professional lives is blurring. This trend extends to the way we work. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are becoming increasingly popular, allowing employees to access company data and applications on their personal smartphones, tablets, and laptops. While BYOD offers a range of benefits, it’s crucial to understand the potential security risks involved.


What is BYOD?

BYOD simply means allowing employees to use their own devices for work purposes. Recent statistics show a significant rise in BYOD adoption fueled by the growth of remote work and flexible working arrangements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a permanent impact on the way we work. With many employees having to work from home, it became a necessity for people to be able to carry out their jobs using personal devices. Reports show BYOD usage went up 58% during COVID-19, and 82% of companies now have a BYOD program.

This trend hasn’t changed since the end of the pandemic either. With more employees working outside the office, BYOD offers a way to maintain productivity and accessibility.

In short, BYOD is here to stay.


The Benefits of BYOD

There are several advantages to implementing a BYOD policy for both businesses and employees. Here are some key benefits.

1. Cost Savings

Companies can potentially save money by reducing expenses on company-issued devices. Additionally, IT departments can save time and resources on supporting and provisioning these devices – if they are managed correctly (more on this later).

2. Increased Productivity and Flexibility

Employees can work from anywhere, anytime on devices that are familiar to them. This means that it’s easier to access work documents and applications, potentially boosting morale and work-life balance for your staff.

3. Increased Employee Choice

BYOD empowers employees to use devices they’re comfortable and productive with, which is a bonus for your company as well. What’s more, people can choose from a wider range of options to suit their individual work style and requirements.

4. Allowing Staff to Work From Anywhere

This is the main benefit that most people associate with BYOD – being able to work from anywhere. It enables seamless work on the go, supporting a more geographically dispersed and remote workforce.

5. Improved Employee Engagement

By giving your employees a sense of trust and ownership over the tools they use to do their job, this can help improve morale. The same goes for providing a modern and flexible work environment as well. All of these things can help attract and retain good people.


What are the security risks of BYOD and personal devices?

While BYOD offers clear advantages, it’s important to be aware of the potential security risks involved. Here’s a breakdown of some key concerns.

Security Risks

Firstly, there are security risks. The primary concern is data breaches. Personal devices are often less secure than company-issued ones, which increases the risk of sensitive information being leaked or stolen. The mobility of these devices also adds to this risk.

Another significant threat is malware. Unsecured personal devices are more vulnerable to malware attacks, which can infiltrate your company network.

Compliance Risks

Compliance is another risk to consider. For instance, implementing BYOD policies can make it difficult to comply with industry regulations. No matter your industry, adhering to relevant legislation is crucial. For example, data protection regulations can be complex, and ensuring compliance across all personal devices can be challenging.

Additionally, data breaches involving personal devices can lead to legal repercussions for companies, which can be very costly.

Management Challenges

Managing a variety of different devices and operating systems is more complex than handling a uniform set of company-owned devices.

In addition, applying a consistent level of security across all IT in your business becomes more challenging when employees use personal devices.


Best Practices for BYOD Security

To mitigate the risks associated with BYOD, it’s crucial to implement robust security measures. Here’s what you can do.

1. Establish a Secure BYOD Policy

The first step is to establish a clear security policy. At Coretek for example, we have a security baseline, which outlines a minimum acceptable level of security at the company.

Regarding BYOD in particular, this policy should clearly define things like which devices are allowed on the company network, the set rules for their use and what security measures are required.

2. Implement Security Measures

These measures can include requiring the use of anti-virus and anti-malware software, enforcing regular updates and security patches, and mandating the use of VPNs and encrypted connections. The great thing is, by using an MDM solution, you can enforce all of these onto any devices that are visible to the company.

3. Mobile Device Management (MDM)

An MDM solution allows you to remotely manage and secure all devices, regardless of where they’re located. It’s a vital tool if you want to gain control over your IT estate. MDM offers benefits like data encryption, application control, and remote wipe capabilities in case of a lost or stolen device. As mentioned above, it’s also a key tool in deploying updates, such as on operating systems and applications.

4. Utilise the Cloud to Improve Security

Using cloud technology is a key way to reduce security risks when using personal devices. By ensuring your company tools and data are stored in either a public or private cloud, you add an extra layer of protection that you control.

For example, when accessing our CoretekCloud private cloud platform, the connection between a user’s device and the private cloud is fully encrypted. Similarly, using a public cloud service like Microsoft 365 protects your company data with strong security measures such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and granular control over what data users can access.

5. Employee Training and Awareness

This suggestion is often overlooked, but regular training sessions on cybersecurity risks and best practices are essential. Employees should be kept up-to-date on the latest threats and how to avoid them. This will be one of the key factors in how successful your cyber security measures are.


Conclusion: Weighing the Options

BYOD offers significant benefits in terms of cost savings, productivity, and employee satisfaction. However, it’s vital to implement a comprehensive security strategy to mitigate potential risks.

One approach can be to offer a mix of company-owned devices but also be prepared for the use of personal devices as well, so you have all bases covered.

By carefully balancing the benefits and risks, you can ensure your business stays secure and successful.


Ready to Review Your BYOD Strategy?

At Coretek, we understand the complexities of managing a range of devices – company owned and personal. We offer a range of services to help you assess your current strategy, identify vulnerabilities, and implement best practices for keeping you secure. Contact us today to learn how we can help you unlock the full potential of flexible working while minimising the risks.