As 2017 winds down, it is time to forecast the workplace technology trends for 2018 and anticipate how these trends can impact your small business. One of the biggest trends is Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD.
Being that we are in the business of making sure you are prepared for what the changing technology environment will throw your way, we want to make sure to highlight the impact that these policies may have on your organization’s security disposition overall. A strong BYOD policy allows employees the flexibility to use their own laptops, tablets and smartphones for work while still preserving privacy and security.
What are the benefits of this kind of system for your business?
Your team may not be in the office from 9-5 Monday-Friday. We take into consideration not only flexible hours, but remote work and telecommuting as that is a big 2018 workplace trend.
There are many benefits to BYOD policies. Switching between devices leaves additional room for errors and inconveniences that could result in lost productivity, such as leaving an important document saved on the office desktop and being unable to access it over the weekend. When your employees are using their own devices, instead of switching from one device for work and using another at home, it is less likely they will be able to access the files when they need them, increasing their ability to be productive.
There is also cost saving element associated with this type of policy as your company does not have to shoulder the burden of purchasing hardware. Employees may even like being allowed to use their own preferred devices. After all, as so many people already own a smartphone, providing a company cell phone may be unnecessary, even cumbersome as users need to switch between their work and personal mobile devices. Instead of buying a laptop when you onboard a new employee, you may only need to purchase supplemental software like Photoshop and antivirus solutions. Having company-purchased software like the Adobe Creative Suite that they may not otherwise access can be an additional perk of the job, improving your relationship with your employees. They also get to use the devices with which they are most comfortable or familiar, instead of being a Mac user at home who must adjust to a PC at the office, or vice versa. In many ways, the policy seems like a win for everyone involved, but BYOD workplaces also have their share of risks.
What are the risks?
Your employees are not all going to be IT professionals, and that means that BYOD policies leave more room for user error and security risks than if every worker is using devices selected and maintained by your IT department. You will need to set specific security policies, and look at providing a secure network for your employees to access from home, rather than accessing unsecured WIFI networks. When you implement a BYOD policy, you necessarily give up a level of control. When an employee leaves that device goes with them, and with it, potentially sensitive information like company passwords.
There are many reasons that BYOD policies are becoming more and more common, but is it right for your company? We have outlined some of the general productivity, cost and convenience considerations. We can also help you assess the costs and benefits of a BYOD policy for your unique business, and create a cybersecurity strategy for you. Don’t worry about figuring it out on your own; contact Cooperative Systems today!