BYOD Explained: Understanding the Benefits and the Risks involved

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Initiation of BYOD

A few years ago perhaps, BYOD would have been nothing but a typo. Well, not anymore.  It is an acronym for Bring Your Own Device. The constantly changing and emerging times in the IT industry has now reached a point where the company employees are no longer solely dependent on the desktop computer at the work. The need to being always-online, always alert, aware and updated even when you are away from the desk has led to work being taken to mobile phones and tablets (or Phablets).

Until recent years, quite a lot of companies followed a trend of providing some important employees with a Laptop and/or company phone to stay connected and updated off the working hours as well. Due to evolution of technology at breakneck speed, most employees started carrying their personal cell phones and tablets at work, devices which were fancier than the ones company usually provided.  And gradually started connecting personal devices to company’s network to do the work. Dealing with the sensitive and confidential data on an obviously unsecured device no wonder proved to be the company’s biggest concern.

Advantages and Risks 

To deal with the issue, the industry decided they needed to put some policies in place in order to allow the employees connecting their personal devices before letting them work on it.

The IT industry decided BYOD was a win-win for both, the company and employees. While employees were finally able to rid the hassles of managing multiple devices (if company provided one), the company would be able to gain more productivity and save a lot of money spent on these devices. It should be noted that not everyone though is fully convinced about its cost-effectiveness, so its better to be aware about that fact than be in the dark before proceeding. What the IT industry probably underestimated at the time was the security risks involved. Sure there are companies who are still against BYOD, but they too are yet to provide a better solution.

Gartner believes BYOD is not just an ephemeral trend, but a long-term change in the way IT industry currently functions. Darryl Carlton, research director at Gartner said, “It’s important to recognize that BYOD, bring your own application (BYOA) and cloud adoption are leading indicators of long-term structural change occurring in the industry, not the demands of a few errant staff demanding their favorite brand of technology.

Security Risks 

Unfortunately, security risks in BYOD are not even remotely similar to bugs found in a software where patches and fixes are made available in the next versions.

The most dangerous security risk is not being aware of the level of risk involved. So the obvious step in the beginning would be gathering the information and gauging the present and possible risks in future. The key is to not just finding solutions for the present problem, but being ready to face one which may or may not arise in near future.

Its understandable that planning for BYOD is not as easy it may sound but there are, however, some steps you can take to secure the workspace environment before you eventually plan and implement it.

Implementing BYOD

A poor implementation can trump over even the greatest of plans. A great planning doesn’t ensure successful implementation. Thankfully, there are quite a few Mobile Device Management solutions available in the market to secure and manage your workspace. We recently wrote a post as to how the BES 10 (Blackberry Enterprise Service  version 10) provides solutions to some of the challenges BYOD presently poses.

Once you have the policies in place, you can probably run a quick survey on the kind of devices your employees use, the operating system they prefer (iOS, Android, Windows), you can then measure the amount of risk you face depending the information you gather which will help you in finding the most suitable solutions.

We hope you were able to find the information you were looking for. You may also refer to this book below to learn more about EMM, BYOD and MDM.

Feature Photo Credit – Michael Coghlan/Flickr

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Darshik Jariwala is an IT Professional from Canada, with 3+ years of experience and knowledge in various verticals in the IT industry. In his leisure time, he loves writing Blogs, Reading, watching Movies, occasional Photography and most of all having coffee with friends. You can also befriend him on , and .

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