Removing the dangers of BYOD

Today our working lives are almost 24/7 and often we’re working away from the office. To stay connected we use our mobile phones for email and business, even on vacation.

So, it’s not surprising then, that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is on the rise in the enterprise. In the past decade we have seen more employees using mobile devices for work as we witness a growing mobile workforce.

Organisations are even actively encouraging workers to bring their own devices into the corporate world. In fact, by 2017 Gartner predicts that 50 per cent of employees will have mobile devices for work purposes.

The reality is that BYOD can be a positive for organisations. In a time where UK productivity is being criticised, BYOD enables users to work anywhere and anytime opening up new levels of productivity and efficiency. Plus, when employees bring their own devices the company saves the cost of buying them. But, with the advantages comes an often ignored list of risks to company data. Whether it is saving to desktops, emailing or using the public cloud the risks need to be assessed and addressed.

The risks

If users need a file away from the server, for ease they may save it to the desktop of their own laptop. This may mean they can work from home, but it also means company data has left the building and if the laptop is lost or stolen the data is too.

To facilitate mobile working, users may also decide to email themselves something they want so they can work on it from their device. Again, the moment that file is emailed, that data is out of IT's control. As with saving files onto an employer’s laptop, there is also no version control. The file on the server will now no longer be the most up to date and accurate.

Then, of course if the file is too big to email, employees may simply send a link, a link to company data they have saved to the public cloud.

The threat from Public Cloud

When employees use public cloud file, sync and share providers like Box and Dropbox, businesses don’t know where their data is stored. And because the data is uploaded to the cloud, it’s impossible to know whether or not it’s being protected in the right way for your business.

Not only does this give organisations no visibility as to where the data is stored or who has access, but for organisations bound by compliance law such as the healthcare services, legal departments or education institutions there could be serious consequences including heavy fines.

The simple fact is that employees will find the easiest way to work, even if it doesn’t keep company data safe. Without a rigorous file, sync and share plan employers are losing control over where their company data is. It would be so much better if you could leave these important files in the control of the IT department, and at the same time enable users to send links or use the cloud to work on the go. In other words, wouldn’t it be great if you could securely access, sync and share these files from the existing storage systems in your company’s data centre?

What can business do? How can they achieve this?

The safest way is through a privately owned cloud device that guarantees total control and privacy over your data whilst allowing users to share, edit and read only rights with whom they wish. BYOD is not going away, so employers need to give users instant mobile access with a similar experience that they already get from consumer cloud solutions in regards to data sharing and syncing.

It is important for organisations to move beyond traditional file storage systems that fail to deliver users the easy access and file sharing features that are essential for today’s mobile workforce. Companies must adopt more user-centric approaches if IT is to meet this growing expectation from users and get the productivity boost promised by BYOD.

The reality is that companies who can adapt and implement a BYOD policy now will be in a far better position to leverage the benefits now and in the future.

Geraldine Osman, VP International Marketing at Connected Data