Is CYOD injecting security vulnerability amongst organisations?

Analyst firm Gartner recently published a research piece titled “BYOD: The Challenges and Hardships of Implementing Globally,” which uncovered that one in five bring your own device (BYOD) projects will be classified as a failure by 2016, partly due to security policies being so tight that users abandon the programmes.

BYOD was first coined in 2009 when Intel noticed the changing behaviour amongst its employees and began implementing a more flexible technological use within the working context. This initially sparked a number of game-changing perceptions around the topic regarding reduced costs and how flexible working could be improved.

Fast forward to late 2015 and corporate perceptions of BYOD have dramatically transformed, again. Legal grey areas, sensitive data access and blurred lines between work and non-work time have inevitably meant that some organisations’ attempts to implement a BYOD strategy have been deemed a failure. Furthermore, industry specialists have suggested that whilst BYOD is to be embraced, the ‘how’ and ‘when’ needs to be carefully implemented in order to be responsive to both the IT infrastructure and staff needs.

Strategies such as CYOD (choose your own device) offer your employees the use of a mobile or tablet from a selection of devices provided by the organisation. In some instances, it may be positioned as a catalyst for increased productivity amongst the workforce, through working on devices that can be monitored and personally differentiated, dependent on role. As your staff are using a device of choice, lags or delays in communication may be reduced, increasing competitive advantage in some contexts.

However, some hesitation still remains, specifically in the financial industry where there are concerns about integrating CYOD fully into working patterns. With a large amount of sensitive data to safeguard, evolving UK privacy laws, and a need to stay ahead of the technological curve, many financial sector IT departments feel they have a lot to lose. However, they also have a lot to gain.

How can you combat security fears?

Companies looking to adopt a more flexible CYOD policy should consider implementing a device security management process. This process allows businesses to accurately track how corporate data is being accessed and can help secure that information whether the employee is accessing it using a laptop or computer, the latest smartphone, tablet or even a standard issue mobile. Keeping track of multiple devices per user may have been a worry when considering a BYOD policy, however providing a limited amount of devices chosen and formatted by the organisation can inevitably illuminate this fear.

The key to managing the security issues of a modern CYOD working environment is to implement a combination of the right platform, from the right solution partner, with proven processes that both future-proof and provide scalability as the business grows.

The workforce will still reap benefits from flexible working and modern device use and many legal and data protection fears felt by organisations can be reduced and re-evaluated. The traditional old, clunky laptop provided by IT may not quite become a thing of the past yet, but it is on its way out.

Andy Baldin, International Vice President of Sales, LANDESK

Image source: Shutterstock/Pixsooz