Businesses must tackle BYOD head-on

UK companies need to rise to the challenge of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies in the workplace, rather than trying to prevent them.

The increasing prevalence of personal devices being connected to corporate networks is something that cannot be reversed or avoided.

Today, around 95 per cent of organisations allow workers to bring in their personal devices and connect them to the corporate network, according to research from Cisco.

As IBM’s chief technology officer for mobility Bill Bodin noted: “The genie is out of the bottle.”

Even IBM has had to take significant steps to prevent personal devices in the workplace from compromising sensitive data and leading to security risks, after a report revealed that many of its staff members were “blissfully unaware” of the inherent dangers of BYOD.

Staff have been told not to use rival cloud storage providers such as Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud and instead to use IBM’s own My Mobile Hub.

The company also plans to ensure that employees’ devices are configured before they are allowed to access the corporate network, in order to protect any confidential information stored therein.

In addition, VP client software will be installed to encrypt any mobile devices that workers use to access internal apps and files.

The main concern when it comes to BYOD is security. As Andy Brewerton of noted, it enables the workforce to take company data out of the relative security of the corporate network as well as the physical security of the building.

If the data is lost that raises a number of issues. First, there’s a compliance aspect, if the worker has breached the security of private information – for example, medical data.

Secondly, the security breach can cause a massive financial impact on the company if it results in a fine.

Plus, if one worker were to lose the blueprints to a new product, that could have a serious impact on the future profitability of the company.

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