The facts, fears and future of BYOD

| 17 April 2015

By Nafisa Akabor

BYOD is fast becoming a hallmark of the modern workspace. But an increase in connectivity and diversity of devices brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Here’s what you need to know.

‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) is a policy that allows employees to bring and make use of personal electronic devices in the work place.

While it may be cheaper for companies to allow employees to bring and work on their own devices, a big concern is that they will have unmonitored access to sensitive company information.

Are SA companies on board?
According to the Global Corporate IT Security 2013 Survey, 75% of South African companies were reluctant to embrace the BYOD trend and only 17% have a BYOD strategy in place.

Cisco South Africa conducted their own research in 2013 amongst 150 local companies. Their findings showed that an average of 52% of employees bring at least one of their own devices into the work place, and that 63% of South African employees were allowed access to the company server or network from a personal device.

What’s the benefit?
The advantages of BYOD are convenience and cost saving. It works in a company’s favour for staff to use the most up-to-date technology. Using owned devices saves businesses money as they don’t have to fork out for the latest and greatest laptops and tablets.

Another advantage is that employees are familiar with their own devices and have a better working knowledge of them. They also tend to look after these devices better and will quickly repair any damages.

BYOD also increases productivity. Employees can carry a single device between work and home and work remotely without transferring information from one machine to another. If an employee has free time during their commute, they can work from a personal device.

The down-side of BYOD
The main disadvantage of BYOD is unmonitored access to confidential company information and data. Employees working on personal devices could have access to sensitive information outside the work environment, which increases the risk of data leaks.

Data leaks can also occur when emails are forwarded via attachments, instant messaging or cloud storage apps without the required encryption in place. This could be done completely innocently, with an employee being none the wiser.

Other potential risks arise when an employee is on leave or sick, and access is needed to information stored on the device.

Managing BYOD
The key to embracing BYOD is finding an integrated solutions provider, fully equipped to manage data and devices to prevent data leaks. Nashua offers managed document solutions to complement BYOD, for increased flexibility. Explore Nashua’s MDS solutions here.

Various technology manufacturers offer their own security and BYOD solutions and apps. We’ve rounded up a list of manufacturers who have BYOD-ready solutions and services.

1. Lenovo
Lenovo offers full disk encryption solutions, embedded security, theft recovery, and has partnered with management software experts to better protect hardware. These solutions include LANDesk Software and the Stoneware network – this aids in accessing multiple devices with a single password, common user interface, and other security features.

2. Dell
Dell has a range of products to increase productivity, catering to both IT organisations and end-users with portability and usability. Examples of these devices are Dell’s tablets, Ultrabooks and Latitude or XPS Laptops.

3. Samsung
Samsung KNOX is an innovative solution for office and home environments, suitable for Android-powered Samsung devices. It has various layers of security, encryption, VPN, application security, device management and customisable ‘secure boot’ on selected devices.

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