The surge in internet-connected devices in everyday use has allowed employees to be more efficient, more connected, and more organized both at work and at home. Employees using laptops, smartphones, tablets and other devices can help to improve workflows. BYOD, or bring your own device policies, are a cost-effective way to help to improve employee moral and make it simpler for employees to finish work outside of the workplace.
There are significant benefits to implementing a BYOD policy in your workplace. It allows you to save significant cost by reducing the need to purchase devices for each employee and plans for each of those devices. A BOYD policy increases employee satisfaction by letting them have control over their own devices and policies and increasing employee freedom, and helps to boost productivity by negating the need for employees to relearn how to use a device they are unfamiliar with. However, BYOD comes with some serious risks.
Cybersecurity is an increasing risk as more business is done on the internet, and mobile devices that access your network can be used as attack surfaces. With BYOD, it’s difficult to know when data and communications are personal or business related—and therefore which should be secured and confidential– without massively violating employee privacy. Devices can be easily lost or stolen, making it simple for others to gain access, and passwords are often not enough to shield a device. Employees who leave the company will naturally want to take their devices, which may still contain company data, passwords, and other information, and you may not be able to wipe them of that data (without avoiding personal information).
Protecting devices from hacking when outside the company is also a concern. Devices containing confidential business information, when connected to unsecured Wi-Fi networks in train stations or coffee shops, become easily accessible targets for hackers. And when devices aren’t company issued, it may be more difficult to push software updates that may shore up defenses, or ensure constant updating of antivirus and firewall software. If employees all possess different devices, it can be difficult to ensure IT support throughout a business large or small if employees bring devices across platforms and operating systems.
BYOD policies increase employee happiness by allowing them to use personal devices rather than having to switch between separate work and personal tablets, laptops, or phones. In addition, employee productivity is boosted by making it easier for them to access work data outside of the workplace.
However, BYOD presents significant risks, particularly by opening cybersecurity vulnerabilities that may allow hackers or other data thieves to access your confidential data. Considering the risks of BYOD as well as the benefits is an important concern for HR as mobile devices become more critical components of day-to-day business practice.