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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

BYOD security should not be optional

Category:   Secure File Transfer

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The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend has quickly established itself as one of the most significant developments to affect the business world in recent years. BYOD allows employees to become more flexible and productive while simultaneously increasing job satisfaction at all levels.

Yet as many executives and other decision-makers are well-aware, BYOD also carries significant challenges and risks. Most notably, BYOD policies inevitably create a greater number of endpoints, which therefore increases the opportunities for data breaches to occur.

That is why businesses pursuing BYOD solutions should ensure that secure file sharing and other security solutions are mandatory, not optional.

Security issues
On the one hand, this may seem like obvious advice. Of course security should be mandatory, not optional. Yet despite how straightforward this seems, the fact of the matter is that many organizations simply fail to put this idea into practice. Instead, they effectively offer optional BYOD security solutions, which employees can choose to implement or disregard. When this happens, there will inevitably be those who do not secure their devices, and who therefore put the firm at risk of a data breach.

There are several reasons why such situations come about. One of the most important facts to acknowledge is that employees are far more protective of their personal mobile devices than company-issued phones and tablets. This is understandable, considering that the individual employees actually own and are responsible for their devices in a BYOD environment. As a result, they will often resist and resent efforts on the part of employers to install invasive or comprehensive security solutions on these devices. Any employer who takes this approach will inevitably see job satisfaction levels drop, thereby undermining one of the key benefits of BYOD policies.

Burdensome problems
This means that many firms will not make secure file sharing or other BYOD security policies unavoidable. Instead, these tools will be made available to all personnel.

However, this does not mean that the security solutions can or should be optional. On the contrary, it is absolutely essential for businesses to make the use of these tools mandatory.

To this end, managers, executives and other business-leaders must regularly and emphatically demonstrate to workers the importance of using secure file sharing solutions and other BYOD data protection strategies. It is not enough to simply install these resources on workers' personal smartphones and tablets and encourage them to make use of these options. Such a policy will result in inconsistent data protection across the organization, and therefore a high risk of a data breach.

By regularly reminding employees of how critical these tools are, though, firms can greatly increase usage among workers.

To truly achieve widespread adoption, though, it is imperative that businesses seek out secure file sharing solutions that were designed to be easy to use. If security solutions do not impose a burden on workers, they will be far more likely to embrace, rather than avoid, these tools.