What Effect Does Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Have On The Workplace?

Bringing a personal mobile phone, tablet or laptop into a workplace has become commonplace. Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, flexible and remote working has led to a rise in employees using their own personal devices to work from, or aid with daily work tasks.

While this is becoming the norm, what is the effect of employees bringing their own devices into the workplace? And what are the pros and cons of BYOD?


What is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?

You may have heard the acronym previously, but what is BYOD? It stands for ‘Bring Your Own Device’ and it is defined by employees using their own personal device(s) for work purposes, usually due to an organisation allowing this usage and implementing a BYOD policy.

Employees could be using their personal device for a whole host of reasons and activities, from accessing emails, connecting to the corporate network, accessing corporate apps, data and more.

Implementing a BYOD Work Policy


A BYOD work policy outlines what a company views as an acceptable use of technology in the workplace, how employees may operate it and how they can protect their device and the company from cyber-threats, data breaches and hacking.

In order for BYOD to be successful in the workplace, it is critical to have a well-defined BYOD policy in place, as well as understand and balance up the risks and benefits of BYOD. Employees must agree to this policy document before implementation.

When deciding whether you should implement a BYOD policy in the workplace, you’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons and make sure that there aren’t any business risks involved.

collection of devices including a computer, tablet, laptop and phone

BYOD Risks: 8 Top risks involved with bringing personal devices into the workplace

To help you determine the best course of action for your business, we’ve uncovered 8 risks involved with BYOD, these include:

1. Potential for data theft

Compared with typical office equipment, personal devices used at work may not have as stringent security requirements. Why does this matter? If a personal use account is hacked on an employee’s device, it could inadvertently result in exposing corporate data and confidential information. To combat this, BYOD software can be used to reduce the risk of data theft and spot suspicious activity or monitor application usage on managed devices.

2. Capacity to cause malware issues

As employees use their personal devices to download various types of media or files. Care must be taken to ensure distinction is made between corporate data and data used for personal purposes; otherwise, it could compromise security. This includes downloading anything on to a mobile device that carries a hidden virus or malware.

3. Potential for legal issues

Reputation is everything. If a security breach is caused by BYOD, it can damage trust with clients, as well as have major ramifications for your customers and their networks and lead to legal issues if there’s been a serious data leak. 

4. Implications of device loss or theft

Unfortunately, in this day and age, devices are stolen or go missing all the time. When employee’s personal devices are involved, it can range from a minor inconvenience to causing serious issues or a disaster situation. In the worst case scenario, an employee that hasn’t been following corporate security measures with the personal device, such as storing passwords in an unsecure notes application, could cause a major security breach. In this case, it’s easy for unauthorised access to be gained to the stolen device and passwords viewed.

5. Improper user management

When BYOD is implemented within an organisation, due diligence must be taken to ensure access to the company via their personal device is removed when they leave the business. To help with this, it’s best to update passwords regularly and revoke access as soon as an employee is no longer authorised to access company systems.

6. Lack of employee training

Security issues and breaches are often caused by human error. To prevent this, training should be given on device security to understand the corporate policy and steps that must be taken to ensure security.

7. Enables Shadow IT

Shadow IT involves using IT systems or programmes that are managed outside of the IT department and without their knowledge or permission. Any software or hardware used on an employee’s personal device without review or approval can pose a potential risk.

8. Lack of security measures and accessing unsecured Wi-Fi

With BYOD, there is a greater security risk as employees personal devices may not possess the advanced security measures that supplied office equipment has.

As employees will be using their devices in their own time too, this can lead to an increased chance of those devices accessing an unsecure Wi-Fi connection. This can act as a gateway, providing hackers with easy access to company systems or networks.

 

The pros and cons involved with facilitating BYOD in the workplace

While there are some risks involved with employees bringing their own devices into work, there are also some great positives.

The advantages of BYOD at work:


Enables remote working


At the top of our list is how BYOD increases workforce mobility, enabling people to work remotely, at their convenience and from anywhere.

Increases efficiency and boosts productivity

BYOD helps increase efficiency and boost productivity in the workplace. When employees are able to use their personal device, one that they are well-accustomed to, they’re able to complete tasks quickly. Making use of cutting-edge technology, meaning that businesses can reap the benefit of their modern features.

Rise in employee satisfaction

Using personal devices for work also leads to a rise in employee satisfaction as it allows for a greater choice in device type.

The disadvantages of bringing your own device to work:


Lack of advanced business security measures

With BYOD there’s often a lack of advanced security measures, such as firewall or anti-virus software that have been applied to personal devices. This means that if staff leave, or their device is stolen or misplaced, it could lead to possible data breaches, an increase in phishing or malware scams, or there may even be vulnerabilities in apps on the device. Another disadvantage that poses a security risk is whether or not the employee’s personal device is shared with family members.

Increased IT costs

Unfortunately, when implementing a BYOD policy in the workplace, it can lead to a significant increase in IT costs in order to support the new personal devices joining the business network. This may be an unforeseen expense not budgeted for.

Requires complex IT support

If all employees within the office are using different devices, it is also much harder to support staff and fix any devices, should issues occur, as they are all different. With a BYOD policy in place, all the individual pieces of equipment require their own repair solutions. This means that the IT security and processes won’t be streamlined or efficient. This could result in additional costs to ensure all hardware is compatible with company software.

 

What is the impact of BYOD on a business’s network?

BYOD into the office can result in significantly poor connectivity and increased buffering across the network. The possibility of connection troubles or lower quality video conferencing is not ideal, and can cause an increase in business inefficiencies.

Not only does BYOD cause strain on a business’s network, there are also consequential data protection and security concerns.

How to ensure BYOD security in your workplace

While you can’t police employees bringing their personal mobile phones into work and connecting to the Wi-Fi, you can put certain security measures in place to ensure BYOD security. Beginning with setting up a BYOD policy and then following essential BYOD security best practices.

BYOD security best practices:

  • Educate employees
  • Separate personal and business data
  • Ensure there’s a solution in place for lost or stolen devices
  • Enable secure network connectivity


Need help with your IT? Contact Bluecube

If you’re looking for help with your IT systems, please give our team a call on 0845 257 8010, fill out our online enquiry form, or send us an email (enquiries@bluecube.tech) and we will be in touch with you shortly.

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