byod in the workplace: mitigating the risks, reaping the rewards
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BYOD in the Workplace: Mitigating
the Risks, Reaping the Rewards Contributed by Shane Avron on June 17, 2014 in Information Technology
The data management firm SailPoint found in
its 2013 Market Pulse survey that 82 percent
of large companies (those with 5,000-plus
employees) have some sort of bring your own
device policy. Cisco reported in its 2012
report, BYOD: A Global Perspective, that
U.S., Asian and Latin American firms are the
most receptive to BYOD policies, while
Europe is more cautious about
implementation. BYOD offers companies several obvious benefits, such as cost savings on
equipment and increased employee productivity. For businesses thinking about adopting a
BYOD policy, security remains the primary concern.
Confidential and Proprietary Information
One of the top concerns IT departments have when administering BYOD policies is keeping
company information safe. This is especially concerning when employees leave the company
and still have emails, documents and other company information stored on their iPad,
notebook or smartphone.
The best way to handle this issue is to plan ahead. A written BYOD policy that details exactly
what the company expects from employees is essential. It should clearly articulate, among
other things, acceptable uses of data, limits of data use and a termination/leaving the
One solution is to use a third-party enterprise mobility management service to balance the
companys security interests with employees desire to use their own devices for work and
personal use. BlackBerry offers a popular mobile device management platform, and there
are others. Just make sure whichever solution you choose can be implemented across
BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices.
Regulations as they pertain to BYOD administration vary between countries, which can
present problems for multinational firms. Compliance issues are one of the main reasons
companies operating in more than one country are slow to embrace a BYOD policy.
Mayer Brown , a global provider of legal services, recommends getting all relevant
stakeholdersincluding IT, HR, security, and compliance departmentsinvolved in
drafting your BYOD policy. Companies should also consider which employees are allowed to
participate in BYOD programs. Those who have been with the company for more than a year
and hold positions with low turnover are good BYOD candidates.
Another solution being widely implemented is remote wiping. The hard drive of a former
employees BYOD laptop, smartphone or tablet can be completely erased by an IT
department without warning.
Despite cloudy legal factors associated with this practice, 21 percent of companies surveyed
by data security firm Acronis in 2013 said they utilize remote wiping. Lewis Maltby of the
National Workrights Institute told BGR.com that complaints from former employees whose
devices were wiped are on the rise.
Though a written policy can provide employers some legal protection, remote wiping could
potentially violate state computer trespassing laws. Make certain your legal advisors have
looked over your BYOD policy before publication, especially if remote wiping is part of it.
About Shane Avron
Shane works in Internet advertising, and writes about advances on the social Web and more.
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