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Bring Your Own Device – Benefits, Status and Risks

Many companies allow employees to use their own laptops, tablets and smartphones for work purposes. Yet security is not optimal in a minority of companies.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Receive professional email on a tablet or private smartphone is no longer unusual. Portals and enterprise applications are increasingly accessible via personal devices. When a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is implemented, companies can derive many benefits such as improvement in productivity and commitment. But BYOD principle also implies risks to the protection level.

Current Status of BYOD

According to Ingram Micro Advisor:

  • The global market for BYOD will increase from $67.21 billion in 2011 to about $181.39 billion by the year 2017.
  • North America has the largest market share of BYOD adopter with 36.1% of the global market in 2011. That 36.1% is expected to grow from $24.26 billion in 2011 to $58.6 billion in 2017.
  • 67% of workers already use their personal devices in the workplace according to Microsoft.
  • 60% of companies supported BYOD in 2013 and 90% are predicted to support BYOD in 2014.
  • 50% of companies will require employees to provide their own devices for their jobs by the year 2017.
  • The WLAN market continues to boom with growth of 13.7% in the third quarter of 2013, largely because of BYOD.
  • 80% of corporate WLANs will become obsolete by 2015, largely because they will have to have 300% more wireless access points to accommodate BYOD.

Top 5 BYOD Security Implications

“Moving data across different devices and networks will increase security risks to the corporate network and opens sensitive corporate data to leaks and attacks. This is because employee-owned mobile devices are beyond the scope of control of internal tech teams, and the risks are compounded by the growth in mobile malware.” (Ellyne Phneah)

According to Edel Creely, the top 5 potential BYOD security threats are:

  1. Increases risk of data leakage
  2. Exploits vulnerabilities
  3. Mixing personal and business data
  4. Poorly cared for devices
  5. Integrations between employee’s devices and the corporate IT infrastructure

Risk management

If companies do want to anticipate current developments, they must do more to protect not only their equipment, but also their data. The risk that employees cause (voluntarily or involuntarily) of corporate data leakage becomes even more important when the company’s information is stored on private facilities.

Loss of business information not only has consequences for productivity, but also to relationships with customers and business reputation. Many companies want indeed no longer work with organizations that suffered data leaks.

BYOD policy

Should you, as an entrepreneur, preventing employees from using their own devices for private purposes? No, but a clear BYOD policy has become essential part of effective risk management. Determine where business information is stored. Secure sensitive data and explain to employees the danger of data loss.

“IT professionals are constantly looking to reduce the gap, and get up to speed with the latest data security practices and advances. Although BYOD poses significant security risks, if managed properly, a BYOD program can reduce costs and increase productivity without hindering security. Educating employees on how to protect their devices and ensuring they are configured in line with security policies ensures that even the basic security precautions are adopted.” (Edel Creely)

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