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Is BYOD Too High Risk for Your Small Business?

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A Dell Quest Software survey of companies around the world with BYOD policies found that more than 50 percent said their BYOD policy has changed their business culture. Almost 74 percent said it increased employee productivity and nearly 59 percent said that they believed they would not be able to compete without a BYOD policy.

The four positive employee benefits that these companies saw from their BYOD implementations include:

– More flexibility in the working hours
– More opportunities to foster creativity
– Faster turn around times with new innovations
– Facilitation of better teamwork and collaboration

While BYOD implementation has been welcomed by employees, do you know what your part as a company is to keep the policy running smoothly?

BYOD Helps You Get Devices Under Control

Employees have been bringing their personal digital devices to their workplace for a long time. Laptops, external hard drives and USB thumb drives can be seen on many employee’s desks with just a walk through your office. Smartphones and tablets are rapidly becoming the next employee tools to make their way in. Do you know what your employees are doing with these devices? What company assets are employees accessing with these tools? Formalizing a BYOD policy means you can get all of the loose ends under control.

Creating a Flexible Yet Safe Environment

Protecting your company’s systems and information is the key to a successful BYOD workplace, says Mashable. Employees get to bring in their own devices to help them do their jobs, while you control and monitor their access to your company resources. A mobile device management (MDM) system let’s you keep employee devices under control.

Blackberry has long since had an enterprise MDM tool that enforces your BYOD policy by:

– Requiring all devices connected to your network be registered
– Giving access to selected areas of your company’s information
– Monitoring activity of all devices connected to your network
– Limiting or denying access to your systems from devices reported as lost or stolen

Tech Republic suggests limiting access to specific operating systems instead of opening the doors to every possible device. Start by allowing the use of the major product such as Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android and Blackberry.

Controlling the Applications

Another step is to control what applications are being used to access your company’s data, says Tech Republic. Employees will have their favorite tools, such as editors and graphics design tools, that they have installed on their digital devices. To make sure that someone doesn’t introduce malware or corrupt the company’s data, you’ll want to maintain your own library of apps authorized to work with your systems. Your MDM can restrict the apps that access your data so you can maintain some level of control.

This can be a time-consuming step because your technical staff will need to do an evaluation of the initially requested apps to determine how safe they are. All of your commercial and in-house developed applications should be included in your app repository. Once you get your initial app area established, you’ll want a policy on how employees can request new apps to be authorized.

Employee Education

You’ll also want to make sure everyone understands the BYOD policy. They need to be aware that they take on additional responsibility to protect the company’s information by being allowed to use their own devices. Your new employee on-boarding process should include a data security section that familiarizes the person with how to keep the company assets safe.