A phobia of BYOD? Here's how your business can overcome its fear

While the popularity of the remote workforce has been on the rise, more and more people are returning to the office to work out of fear that their business data isn’t secure, according to a Neustar report. A whopping 83 per cent of respondents are worried about the security of their files, and 27 per cent feel uncomfortable sharing data through emails.

Despite popular belief, the convenience of implementing BYOD practices in enterprise businesses doesn’t have to come at the cost of security or IT control. In fact, there are some simple solutions that can enhance mobility without compromising company data.

Common BYOD Fears

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Some of the worst security issues facing mobile app development stem from data breaches and data leaks — but those are just the tip of the iceberg.

IT professionals worry that employees will be careless with information. Users often don’t understand the potential repercussions of their actions, which can lead to the mishandling of data.

With BYOD, IT also has to maintain full visibility and control over how employees handle company data, what apps they use, and the health of all of the devices. Plus, IT needs to be knowledgeable about every single type of device being used within the organisation.

Because of these issues and the mounting number of devices IT has to keep track of, IT’s ultimate fear is that it will lose control and never be able to get it back, leaving the organisation vulnerable indefinitely.

But are these fears realistic? In a word, yes. The chances for breaches rise as more mobile devices and apps are used.

In fact, a report from Netskope states that 70 per cent of compromised accounts’ are a result of uploads to apps with poor security. Organisations use about 730 cloud apps, and 90 per cent of those aren’t enterprise-ready. With the mobile-first business environment, security issues can’t be taken lightly, which is why IT has become fearful of jumping right into the game.

Implementing BYOD Security Solutions 

Thankfully, there are solutions that can help IT departments better protect their company’s data and mitigate the risks.

First, everyone involved needs to be educated on the dos and don’ts of working with company data. Once IT has set expectations and provided clear guidelines, it can implement added security measures to make its initiatives foolproof. These additional features can include encryption (which should be mandatory), two-factor authentication, and tools such as Sophos, Netskope, Okta, etc.

Naturally, there will be employees who make mistakes, are unsure of certain protocols, or blatantly disregard IT’s instructions. But these employees showcase why added security, visibility, and control are so important.

Another effective solution is creating visibility. If IT has auditing capabilities paired with some form of smart reporting, it can ensure employees are operating in alignment with security protocols when sharing content. For example, if an IT professional sees that an employee shared something that’s being excessively viewed, he may come to the conclusion that the employee mishandled the link and let it go public.

Finally, IT professionals should have the ability to set strict permissions that are granular – right down to a user or file. Some solutions have features that allow IT to remotely wipe devices if they’re lost or stolen. This level of control will give the IT team peace of mind knowing that company data is being handled responsibly.

Balfour Beatty, one of our construction clients, successfully implemented these security measures when adopting a mobile strategy that allows project teams to use mobile devices in the field. The company’s IT department’s visibility allows it to ensure confidential blueprints and company documents aren’t leaked outside of the project team, and its control allows it to remotely wipe information from mobile devices when subcontractors or other workers finish projects or if a device is lost or stolen. This mobile strategy also saved the company over $5 million (£3.1 million) on paper for one project.

BYOD practices can save money and boost productivity — as long as company data isn’t compromised along the way. While the survey data mentioned above highlighted the fears of working outside of the office, these fears can be eased with the right security measures in place, in addition to enabling efficient mobile work on the go. If IT departments incorporate these data-security practices and implement BYOD policies cautiously and appropriately, they can keep their company’s employees happy without putting business data at risk.