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Monday, August 05, 2013

Inadequate BYOD policies putting firms at risk

Category:   Secure File Transfer

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As the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend continues to gain popularity among both businesses and employees, it is becoming increasingly untenable for firms to ignore the advantages and disadvantages inherent to the strategy. By leveraging BYOD, businesses can improve productivity, flexibility and worker satisfaction. Yet BYOD also presents data security risks if handled without sufficient care.

Unfortunately, as a recent survey suggested, organizations' current BYOD policies are not adequate to protect their sensitive data. Greater commitment to secure file sharing solutions is essential for the implementation of effective, safe BYOD environments.

BYOD safety
The study, commissioned by TEKsystems, included input from more than 1,500 IT leaders and 2,000 IT professionals. According to participants, many businesses' BYOD policies are lacking in a variety of ways.

Nearly half of IT leaders and 35 percent of IT professionals indicated that their firms' BYOD policies are not entirely clear. In total, two-thirds of respondents felt that at least some confusion persisted concerning these issues. This is a major problem, as even the most effective BYOD initiative will fall short if employees are not certain as to best practices and the available security measures.

"Given the threat of a data leak, any employee who does not understand an organization's stance on BYOD poses a risk," the report stated. "Failure to clarify the company's policy and educate end users on security best practices creates false and dangerous assumptions."

Additionally, and critically, nearly three-quarters of survey participants said they believe that their organizations' sensitive data is likely at risk as the result of employees using their personal devices for work-related tasks.

Achieving security
As these statistics demonstrated, many businesses are not tackling BYOD in an optimal fashion. They realize that the trend is here to stay, but have not moved fast enough to develop comprehensive solutions for these practices. By allowing BYOD, either tacitly or explicitly, without offering effective guidelines for the trend, businesses put themselves at grave risk of suffering a data breach.

Fortunately, there are a number of solutions available which organizations can implement easily and quickly and that can dramatically reduce the risk of data loss or exposure in BYOD environments. By providing all relevant employees with secure file sharing tools, organizations can make data protection simple for workers without diminishing their ability to take advantage of the productivity and flexibility offered by BYOD.