Companies with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy allow employees to use their own personal devices (such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.) for work purposes. This can include accessing company email, data, and applications on the device.
What are the benefits of using BYOD?
For employers in certain industries, there are several benefits to implementing a BYOD policy, including:
Increased productivity: Allowing employees to use their own devices can increase their productivity, as they are likely to be more familiar and comfortable with their own device.
Cost savings: BYOD can save the company money, as the company does not have to purchase and maintain devices for all employees.
Employee satisfaction: Employees may appreciate the flexibility and convenience of being able to use their own devices for work.
Increased mobility: BYOD allows employees to work from anywhere, on any device, which can increase the company’s flexibility and responsiveness.
These benefits can only be realized if a company has a rock-solid BYOD policy in place, with appropriate security measures to mitigate the risks of sensitive data leakage.
What are the security risks of BYOD?
Since employees are using their own devices to access potentially sensitive business data, there are inherent risks that come with implementing a BYOD policy. Corporate-owned devices will always offer complete control of mobile devices and ensure those devices are secure, compliant, and up-to-date.
Companies who are considering BYOD should be very aware of the risks associated with this policy and plan accordingly. Some of the main risks include:
Data leakage: Personal devices may not have the same security measures as company-owned devices, making it easier for sensitive data to be leaked or stolen.
Malware and viruses: Personal devices may be more susceptible to malware and viruses, which could spread to the company’s network and potentially compromise sensitive data.
Device loss or theft: If an employee’s personal device is lost or stolen, it could put company data at risk.
Lack of control over software and updates: Company IT teams may not have control over the software and updates installed on personal devices, making it difficult to ensure that all devices are up-to-date and secure.
Lack of visibility: BYOD can make it difficult for the IT team to monitor and track devices and their usage, which can make it harder to detect and respond to security incidents.
Compliance: BYOD may not align with regulatory compliance requirements that the company needs to follow, and may not be able to meet the level of security required.
Which industries should not implement a BYOD policy?
Any industry that handles sensitive or regulated data should not implement a BYOD policy. These industries include:
Healthcare: The healthcare industry is subject to strict regulations such as HIPAA and HITECH, which require secure handling of personal health information (PHI). BYOD may not provide the level of security required to protect PHI.
Finance: Financial institutions handle sensitive financial data and are subject to a variety of government regulations such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). BYOD may not provide the level of security required to protect financial data.
Government: Government agencies handle sensitive information and are subject to regulations such as FISMA and NIST. BYOD may not provide the level of security required to protect government data.
Legal: Law firms handle sensitive client data and are subject to regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct. BYOD may not provide the level of security required to protect client data.
Education: Educational institutions handle sensitive student data and are subject to regulations such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). BYOD may not provide the level of security required to protect student data.