How to stop BYOD from becoming 'bring your own disaster'

Just as secure file transfer solutions are designed to keep data safe while moving it within network systems, the recent rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies aim to take advantage of technological advancements to support business operations. The idea of BYOD is to allow employees to furnish their own hardware for company activities, which usually means they're using their personal devices on the job. This enables corporations to cut costs on devices while giving workers the luxury of using their favorite gadgets so they can complete their jobs more conveniently. Additionally, it offers a more fluid transition for those who continue working outside of the office and provides opportunities for greater mobility and flexibility.

However, BYOD is not without its drawbacks. There are a lot of security concerns that come along with permitting employees to connect their devices to the corporate network and handle enterprise resources on gadgets that aren't strictly within the oversight of the IT department. That's why some security experts even refer to BYOD as "bring your own disaster," as IT Business Edge quipped. Information security is really no laughing matter, though, as companies face extraordinarily high costs if they expose sensitive information, damage their networks or lose valuable data resources. Therefore, it's imperative for organizations to seriously reflect on how they can bolster security while taking advantage of the convenience and mobility BYOD promises.

Companies struggle with BYOD security

Unfortunately, there's no easy answer to sweepingly secure devices and system resources within a BYOD situation. According to FierceMobileIT, recent research by Harris Interactive has shown that the majority of organizations that have BYOD policies are unaware of common mobile security threats. These vulnerabilities include potential dangers such as access to inappropriate sites, malware infections and failure to adhere to secure file transfer services. Despite gaps in their knowledge, the vast majority of firms believe they have appropriate security policies and measures in place to keep their resources safe.

"This suggests that even though companies are putting security solutions in place to protect themselves when employees bring their devices into work, they are not actually addressing many of the threats that are out there," Gareth Maclachlan, co-founder and chief commercial officer of AdaptiveMobile, told FierceMobileIT.

Setting up better lines of defense 

Any network system requires ongoing, comprehensive security that covers threats from multiple angles. For BYOD, IT Business Edge suggested creating a policy that defines which devices are supported, the standards for corporate accounts and access information, malware and antivirus requirements, data storage and transfer management, configuration details and application usage. It's important to educate staff and remind them of these policies to uphold them throughout the organization.

In addition to basic mobile device management strategies, companies should consider which applications and other services they can offer for employees to use on their own devices in order to bolster security for corporate data. Secure file sharing solutions, such as robust email services, can help draw a stronger line between personal and company resources while giving workers convenient, intuitive tools. That way, they're less likely to download sensitive information to their device or turn to less secure shortcuts for sharing information.