How a BYOD Policy Can Prove Expensive for a Company
Many small and medium-sized companies are adopting the “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD policy. Accordingly, these businesses allow their employees to work on their own electronic equipment including laptops, tablets, cellphones, and even desktop computers. Employees may use these gadgets in the workplace, or they may use the gadgets when delivering assignments working from home.
Small Businesses Need to be Especially Careful When Opting for the BYOD Policy
On the face of it, the arrangement is perfect. Companies adopting the BYOD policy need not invest in expensive equipment to assign to their workers. They only need to provide an efficient network service and their employees can work using devices that they’re most comfortable with. However, such companies are particularly vulnerable to data breaches and ultimately spend thousands of dollars when eventually, information leaks occur.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, in the year 2016 alone, American businesses and federal agencies suffered 1093 data breaches. This figure is a clear indication that small businesses are not immune to the threat. Results of the 2012 Data Breach Investigations Study by Verizon reports that 71% smaller companies with less than 100 workers faced a higher risk. That’s because hackers intentionally target them knowing fully well that small businesses have fewer resources to use for security measures.
Any leaks in personal information can cost your company the expense of informing the entities that their information has been compromised. You may also have to compensate them financially or deal with expensive lawsuits. Keep in mind, that the sensitivity of the lost information is directly proportionate to the compensation you’ll have to pay.
If you have been considering adopting a BYOD policy, here are some factors to keep in mind.
Employee Devices May Not Have the Necessary Security Applications
In case your employees work on their own devices, they may not have the security applications like firewalls, multiple login restrictions, security questions, PINs, and login boxes. The absence of these apps can make it incredibly easy for hackers to break into the systems and steal sensitive information that clients and partnering businesses may share with your company. According to Advisen Cyber FPN, around 40% of employees do not have any security measures installed on their laptops, tablets, or cellphones.
As MD of Intact Security, Lutz Blaeser revealed, “When those surveyed were asked how these personal devices are secured, just under a third claimed to make use of a personal identification number (PIN), while not even half employed a complex password. Around 40% claimed to have absolutely no security measures in place to prevent unauthorised access to their phones and tablets.”
For this reason, if you do have a BYOD policy in your company, have your IT team check all devices and direct users on the mandatory data protection applications they must have installed.
Compliance with Information Security Guidelines May Be Difficult
If your business falls under the purview of the mandates of GLBA, PCI DSS, and HIPAA, you’ll need to be cautious about the security of the information your employees store and use on their devices. Another factor that you need to be wary of is that employees using their own devices are likely to use them for purposes other than work. They may also download games and other applications leaving their devices vulnerable to attacks by cybercriminals. Since it is not possible to restrict employee activities on their own devices, following a BYOD policy and maintaining compliance can become exceedingly difficult.
Employees Using Non-Secure Networks can Cause Breaches
Using dedicated network providers is absolutely essential to protect the information in your digital systems. That’s because while you can secure your own systems, other users accessing non-secure websites using the same server can endanger your company systems also. Accordingly, if you choose to follow a BYOD policy, you’ll need to lay down regulations about the networks your employees use when not in your office premises.
Employees Leaving the Company May Carry Sensitive Information with Them
One of the biggest downsides of allowing employees to use their own devices is that they’ll have sensitive information saved on their devices when they leave your company. This factor can put your business at risk. To prevent this possibility, you’ll have to get your IT team to scan the devices of outgoing workers. Hire certified professionals to use secure hard drive wiping solutions to erase all the information on them.
You Can Make the Latest of Technology Available to Your Employees
Advocates of the BYOD policy talk about how your employees are likely to buy and work on the latest of technology. Considering the cost factor, you may not be able to provide the best of equipment to all your workers. However, you can search for refurbished laptops certified by the original manufacturers or professional refurbishing companies. These devices are checked carefully for defective parts and other issues. If needed, they are repaired before being repackaged and put back up for sale. You can choose the newest of devices that are also economical from the extensive range available on their websites.
Adopting the BYOD policy for your company may be an economical move because you won’t have to invest in the purchase of multiple devices for all your business employees. However, the risk of data breaches is very real in today’s times. Should any personal information entrusted to your company fall into the hands of hackers, you might end up incurring damages far more expensive as compared to the cost of the devices you might have bought. Before making your decision about allowing workers to use their own equipment, weigh the pros and cons carefully.