For a while, it was unclear whether the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement would ultimately infiltrate the broader business environment. While some high-tech firms were early adopters, the majority of companies were initially slow to warm to the concept. This was understandable, as BYOD inevitably carries a heightened degree of risk. And for this reason, many firms continue to resist the allure of BYOD.
However, all of the available evidence suggests that such efforts to prevent BYOD are not only futile, but also dangerous. Employees are increasingly enamored with their smartphones and tablets, and they want to use these devices for work-related purposes. If their firms do not permit such behavior, they are likely to ignore these restrictions. And without the oversight and management that comes with a coherent BYOD plan, this will make the workers' behavior even more dangerous.
The better option for most firms is to accept that BYOD is going to happen, then develop policies that are designed to make this trend as low-risk and high-reward as possible for both the organization and the employees. Here are three strategies for achieving precisely this goal.
1. Invest in high-end secure file sharing solutions
The main reason why BYOD is often a security danger is because these devices do not feature sufficiently robust data protection offerings. This means that workers will send, receive and access sensitive files via unprotected means, which can put the company at risk of a serious data breach.
To reduce this risk, it is imperative that firms invest in and deploy high-quality secure file sharing offerings. By using these tools, workers will be able to leverage the advantages of BYOD without putting corporate data at risk. However, to ensure that workers actually utilize these resources, it is imperative that decision-makers choose secure file sharing solutions that are not only reliable, but also easy to use. Otherwise, workers will likely turn to less secure consumer-grade options, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, when using their mobile devices for work. This can put corporate information in danger.
2. Prioritize communication
One of the elements that makes BYOD so risky is that there is often a degree of disconnect between business leaders and employees. More specifically, the former group does not adequately stress the importance of data security to the latter, especially in a BYOD context. The result is that staff members engage in dangerous behavior without realizing that this is problematic.
To avoid this outcome, business leaders need to make communication a priority, particularly when it comes to BYOD safe practices. This includes emphasizing the need to utilize secure file sharing solutions and other data protection resources.
3. Ensure oversight with balance
BYOD presents a difficult situation for businesses when it comes to oversight. Employees will be understandably resistant to efforts to gain access to their personal devices. However, without oversight, data security is a major risk.
Business leaders must therefore develop plans that strike the right balance between IT oversight and employee privacy. Working directly with every stakeholder is a key element of succeeding in this regard.