Should You Let Employees Use Their Own Devices at Work?


There are now more gadgets and mobile devices than people. At the time of this writing, the world population is at 7.5 billion according to the U.S. Census Bureau, while GSM Association’s real-time tracker states that there are more than 9 billion connected devices in the world, with 5.1 billion unique mobile users.

These numbers show how much the use of mobile devices has evolved over time. Now, phones and laptops aren’t simply wants, but needs. What’s more, the digital age makes them necessary for the success of business operations.

But are personal mobile devices utilized for work a security problem?

“BYOD” Productivity and Security Matters

Bring Your Own Device or BYOD is one of the ways enterprises treat the use of mobile devices in the workplace. Since today’s workforce is pretty tech-savvy, they know their own device like the back of their hand. This means that they need little to no training in using these devices for work purposes. As a result, also reflected in a Dell Software study, the BYOD policy improves employee productivity.

Unfortunately, BYOD also poses security risks. One of the top reasons a security breach happens is the physical theft of a data-carrying device. This includes laptops, smartphones, and thumb drives, to name a few gadgets. According to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Report, 55 percent of all device thefts occurred within the victim’s work area and 22 percent were from the employee’s vehicle.

The Solution

Employees using their own mobile devices to access company data can and does pose a threat to their company’s security. But, Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Enterprise Mobility Management software can be one of the solutions for the security problems associated with BYOD.

An MDM software provides an extra layer of protection to employees’ mobile devices used for work by allowing the company to remotely wipe data from the device in case it’s lost or stolen. Even better, MDM or EMM solutions only cost between $3.25 and $9 per device every month, according to a 2018 Oxford Economics study on enterprise mobility.

And if, in spite of the option to use MDM software, employers and companies’ IT departments are still worried about the security concerns surrounding BYOD, there’s an alternative.

Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled

In May last year, Chicago Bears rookie Roquan Smith’s team-issued tablet containing the Bears’ playbook was stolen from his car. If any of the opposing teams got a hold of the contents of the playbook, the Bears wouldn’t have gotten far into the season. Fortunately, the team was able to immediately wipe all information from the iPad.

The ability to immediately take action is one of the benefits of Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) devices policy at work. In this approach to mobile device ownership, organizations provide employees with devices to use for both work and personal purposes.

Apart from MDM, employers can also control the applications they allow on COPE devices. The enhanced control and restriction on device usage enable IT teams to focus on other security measures. What’s more, COPE encourages work/life balance since they’re using a single device for their work and personal life.

Corporate IT Solutions

Whatever you decide for your employees, it’s important to prioritize security to protect your business. CMIT Solutions is an IT solutions company that provides multiple security and management services for enterprises, especially SMBs.

Contact CMIT Solutions today so we can start helping your company grow.

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