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News, opinions and updates from the Virtuoso team.

Jul
01

Remember… Always Practice Safe BYOD

Posted by Markus McIver in Security, BYOD

No matter what blog or magazine read these days, it seems like everyone is talking about today’s increasingly mobile workforce and the BYOD (Bring-Your- Own-Device) movement.

We live in an exciting time when work can be done at any time from any place. Employees love the fact that they can get work done on their iPad as they sit poolside sipping a Pina Colada. Businesses love the cost savings along with the happier and more productive employees they’re noticing. Meanwhile, customers and clients take note that their emails are commonly answered outside traditional work hours with a “Sent from my iPhone” tagline at the bottom.

Like anything related to business technology, there are naysayers who are quick to warn that a more mobile and dispersed workforce also means increased security risks.
Do they have a point?

 

It turns out there are some very legitimate concerns but nothing that can’t be minimised, if not altogether eradicated, with the practice of safe BYOD.

Here are a few suggestions

Create a Mobile Device Security Policy

A comprehensive mobile security policy is critical. This policy must cover everything from the type of devices allowed to how and where data and files are edited, saved, and shared.  Combining this policy with a sound mobile strategy is your best bet to integrate BYOD into your workplace with minimal consequences.

Enforce this Policy

It’s good to take the time to prepare a document that outlines policy, but don’t stop there. Be sure to enforce this policy. This is especially important for small-to-midsise businesses, particularly startups that are sometimes guilty of being too laid back despite all the caffeine consumed at their in-office coffee bars. Make the following words your mantra when it comes to enforcing this policy. No Exceptions. Ever. Seriously, 41% of small businesses have a BYOD policy in place but 25% make exceptions to their own rules.

Train Employees

A BYOD plan has no chance of succeeding unless it is properly communicated to users. It’s important that each employee recognise his or her responsibilities and the repercussions of failing to follow security rules. The best defense against cyber crime will always be a knowledgeable and conscientious employee.

BYOD can give any organisation, big or small, a competitive advantage. Harness the power of BYOD by planning ahead and sticking to your plan.

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Tags: #Security, #BYOD
Jun
02

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Mobility and BYOD

There are a lot of advantages to mobility in today’s workforce, but the Bring-Your- Own-Device (BYOD) movement has also brought its share of headaches as well.

We live in a society where everyone must have the newest technology. We are inundated with ads reminding us that the smartphone or tablet we just bought a year ago is laughably outdated and inferior to the upgrade that just hit the market.

People who have just bought the latest technology don’t want to have to set it aside to use a separate company-issued device. As a result, businesses are beginning to grant these employee-owned devices access to their file and email servers, databases, and applications.

While this brings certain competitive advantages to employers, it naturally carries many risks, too.

Let’s begin with the pros of BYOD…

The Advantages of BYOD

Greater Flexibility and Productivity

Personal devices allow workers more flexibility, which in turn can increase productivity. Today’s employee isn’t restricted to their office workstation or cubicle. They can carry out job responsibilities from home, a coffee shop, their child’s dance recital, or while traveling.

Reduced Costs

Purchasing even the most basic Blackberry for an employee can cost a company $900+ per worker. Costs like that can be completely eliminated by adopting a BYOD policy where employees are required to use their own device.

Happier Employees/Attractiveness to Job Seekers

Recent studies have found that 44% of job seekers are attracted more to employers who are open to BYOD and occasional remote work. Beyond this hiring advantage over competition, it has been found that employees as a whole are generally happier using the devices they own and prefer for work purposes.

Better Customer Service

This goes hand and hand with more flexibility and productivity. Mobility allows employees to occasionally resolve or escalate urgent client issues outside of normal working hours, and clients remember that kind of response time.

And now the cons of BYOD…

Disadvantages of BYOD

Compromised Data Security

Unfortunately, letting employees use their own smartphones, tablets, and laptops increases the likelihood of sensitive company or customer/client data being compromised. It is important for companies to establish a comprehensive mobile device security policy and never make any exceptions to it whatsoever. Really. No exceptions. Ever.

Employee Privacy

Many employees may oppose using their own devices for work, especially if it’s a company requirement that they aren’t reimbursed for. You have to remember that these are the same devices employees use to log into their Facebook and Twitter accounts or do their online banking. In this age of constant paranoia over big brother watching our every move, employees may be concerned that their employer will spy on them or access their personal passwords and information.

Handling Employee Turnover

Companies must consider how they will address the retrieval of company data and information from an employee’s device if the employee either quits or is fired. Some companies may require that employees only save or edit company files on their servers or use cloud-based sharing software like Dropbox to share and edit docs.

The Importance of a Mobile Device Management Tool

Obviously, businesses must keep track of all of the devices that access their server, applications, and data. Mobile Device Management helps enterprises centralise what is an otherwise chaotic hodgepodge of devices and operating systems. This ensures that all devices are configured, deployed, and properly monitored and managed. This is a smart way for businesses to embrace BYOD while securing data and applications across multiple devices.

 

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