If you've been hearing a lot about 'Bring Your Own Device' programs lately, you may be wondering exactly what BYOD means to you. A BYOD policy - at least a well thought out one - is intended to protect company systems from potential security issues by creating policies that govern user devices while also improving employee morale and productivity.
You may be using your device for work-related purposes and not even realize it. Do you check your work email on your phone? It seems harmless enough, but according to NBC News, some companies are now even banning the reading of work emails on personal phones. BYOD is essential to controlling employee device use, but what does it mean for you?
Do You Remember the Last Time You Got a Virus?
Chances are you've had a virus on your computer at one point or another. The issues with BYOD operate on a related level. Personal devices - including smartphones, tablets and laptops - can all be weakened to security issues. Companies are concerned, because personal devices that have access to the company network may also expose the network to vulnerabilities. Android phones are particularly vulnerable, with 99 percent of all malware being targeted toward this platform according to Kaspersky lab.
What Does BYOD Do?
A BYOD program essentially controls which personal devices connect to the network. Most BYOD management platforms have granular security. Granular security controls different levels of security access. One person may have the permissions to access an entire network while other guest users may only be able to access very controlled regions. Companies such as BlackBerry have created mobile device management platforms for this reason, and users can consult BlackBerry for more information.
The Ability to Control Your Device
The major concern for employees when it comes to strict BYOD policies is that their company will now institute some level of control over their devices. Some companies can completely wipe their employee's devices if they suspect there has been an intrusion or even if the company and the employee separate. For employees that have personal information they want to keep safe on their phone, this can be very difficult to deal with. It is important you find out your company's policies before joining their BYOD program.
The Ability to Opt Out
It's important to note that most BYOD policies do allow individuals to opt out, such as the one outlined by the White House. Opting out usually means that an individual will be required to maintain both business and personal devices or that they may have to jump through more hoops to interact directly with a system. However, opting out is still an option for anyone who doesn't want to give up their privacy and doesn't want to run the risk of losing the data on their personal device. Note that an inability to afford a device should not be a reason for your company to make you opt out of the program. Inquire about possible device or data plan reimbursement if you're interested in participating.
Following Company Policy
Different companies will have different policies in regards to their BYOD programs. Some companies have a zero-tolerance policy, whereas other companies encourage users to perform some functions on their personal devices or at home. The best thing you can do is learn your company's policy and follow it. While BYOD policies may seem frustrating to deal with, they are there for a very important reason.