BYOD: Businesses Debate – Benefits vs. Risk

Bring your own device (BYOD) policy allows employees of an organization to access work-related stuff with their devices. Although most organizations discourage using personal devices, startups often allow their employees to avail the BYOD policy. 

Despite debates surrounding the benefits and risks of BYOD, businesses that aren’t prepared to commit to a hefty establishment cost are inclining toward implementing it. 

As a business, you are required to weigh the benefits and risks of implementing a BYOD policy before letting your employees use their personal devices to access your servers. Let’s make it easier for you by discussing the pros and cons of BYOD in this article. 

Benefits of BYOD

BYOD is deemed beneficial by most IT organizations and employees. But, it’s not as popular as it should be due to the security risks and the extent of ‘control’ employers need to practice over personal devices to make them useful. 

Regardless, here are the benefits discussed that BYOD offers: 

Increased Employee Productivity

75% of employees already use their personal phones for work. They may not use it to access the secured domains of the business, but using phones for replying to an email and drafting responses is pretty common among workers in every industry.

Implementing a BYOD policy has been proved to be productive for both employers and employees. And as a BYOD policy doesn’t necessarily mean bringing laptops, it can be customized to fit your requirements. 

Compliance requirements are critical for a business to ensure their customers about the safety of their data and privacy. Especially health sectors that are required to maintain HIPAA compliance requirements and are inclined to implement BYOD policies must embrace a strict privacy and security policy for the employees and executives.   

You can choose to allow your employees to access company email and virtual meetings through their personal devices, but not the supply chain resources. 

More Familiarization With Devices

Letting an employee use their own device means less training. As your employees will also be using the devices outside office hours, the increase in navigability and familiarization with their devices can minimize your training expenditures. 

In most cases, by using familiar devices, employees draw productivity out of themselves that was absent before. Being able to use a familiar device to watch YouTube and manage the company database gives your employees a sense of trust and belongingness. 

Less Wasted Time Trying to Switch Devices

Most individuals use an OS that they are most familiar with. They try to customize their devices, externally and internally, as much as possible to suit their needs. And as you may expect, every OS and interface is different from the next one. Therefore, users waste a lot of time navigating through the new experience every time they switch devices. 

With a carefully planned BYOD policy, you can minimize the loss of business hours due to switching fatigue. Although you may not be able to completely replace on-premise hardware with personal devices, you can try to let your employees choose their own setups and customization options for better productivity without compromising on security. 

Decreased Establishment Cost

If you’re just starting up, you may not have adequate fundings to rent an office, decorate it, and purchase and maintain on-premise hardware. BYOD policies can come in handy in this scenario. If you allow your employees to bring their own devices or allow them to work remotely, you can save on establishment costs

Although you may still need to book a cafe or hire an office space and pay a stipend to your employees for using personal devices, it still is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Along with this, you can also reduce your fixed costs like internet charges and electricity bills by embracing a BYOD policy. 

Flexibility and Employee Satisfaction

For startups and emergency sectors like health, flexibility towards working business hours is a priority. Employees often are forced to work overtime in the office during late-night calls and meetings. Only if a BYOD policy is implemented and employees are allowed to work from home to a certain extent, issue of being unproductive can be mitigated.

Rather than spending hours in the office, your employees can work from the comfort of their house with their own devices. Therefore, they’ll start taking occasional overtime as a form of an extension of work, but from the comfort of their home. Your employees will be happy to get paid for using their devices. 

Increased Trust Between Employers and Employees

Employers need to trust their employees if implementing a BYOD policy. The risks involved with using personal devices aren’t miniscule. And your employees know it. They should also know that you’re putting your and your client’s trust in them. By letting your employees use their devices, an environment of increased trust and dependency is promoted throughout the organization. 

Consider making strong security and privacy policy in addition to implementing the BYOD policy to make sure that your employees are trained better. 

Risks of BYOD

Several risks like malware injection and insider threats are associated with BYOD policies. The associated risks are the only reason that most businesses, despite the benefits, fear letting employees bring their own devices to work. Let’s discuss some of them briefly. 

Malware Injection

When employees are allowed to use their personal devices, they inevitably connect to networks beyond the organization’s control. The lack of security and privacy options with these vulnerable networks can open pathways for hackers to install malware on their devices. Rooted and jailbroken devices are vulnerable to such attacks. 

Malware attacks can steal the credentials of your employees and use them to gain access to secure servers, risking more severe attacks.  

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Data Theft

As an employer, the sensitive data of your clients and your employees are your responsibility. When personal devices are allowed, data theft is a critical risk. If an attacker gains access to your databases, they can use the sensitive data to blackmail or impersonate the victim to initiate scams and frauds. 

Insider Attacks

Insider attacks can occur if a BYOD policy is implemented. Whether a malicious insider or a careless one, the risks involved with bringing personal devices aren’t minimized. Malicious insiders are the ones who use legitimate credentials to harm the organizations. The careless insider is a pawn who unknowingly delivers the credentials to a malicious insider. 

Stolen Devices

Personal devices are at more risk of getting stolen than on-premise ones. Due to the lack of control on these devices, the attacker can crack the surface-layered security features like pins and passwords without much effort. Once the access is granted, the attacker can use it to impersonate the victim or use their saved credentials to hack the servers. 

The Bottom Line

The benefits of BYOD include increased productivity, reduced wasted time, and decreased establishment costs. You may also benefit from the familiarization of devices and increased trust between you and your employee. The risks, although still outweighs the benefits, are mitigable through strict policies.