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Preparing Your Network for "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD)

In response to high technology-related costs, many businesses have instituted a policy of “bring your own device to work,” or BYOD. It’s similar to initiatives like “bring your own phone” or “bring your own PC,” and allows employees to work and access corporate networks from personal technology devices. As with any workplace technology change in policy, BYOD brings certain risks, but it also has tremendous advantages. Companies that decide to implement a BYOD strategy need to not only be aware of the risks and rewards, but also to be prepared to ensure the safety and integrity of their data, no matter who accesses it or from where.

The Pros of a BYOD Policy

The pros of BYOD have demonstrated huge benefits for many companies, especially small and medium-sized businesses that might not have the budget to constantly update the technology they provide for employees. Workplaces that have employed a BYOD strategy have found that their staff members are more satisfied at work since they have opportunities for flexibility. Additionally, many people are more comfortable using their own tablets, smartphones, and laptops which has led to increased productivity.

Aside from increased employee satisfaction, workplaces that have a BYOD policy in place have benefited from the major savings that come with not having to purchase, update, and maintain hardware. Depending on the types of programs used, and the internal policies of the company, there may be additional cost savings on the purchasing of software licenses. The security of wireless networks will need to be top of mind which is stressed when taking information assurance courses.

The Cons of a BYOD Policy

A BYOD policy carries with it some major risks, most notably to the company’s cybersecurity. By allowing employees to use personal technology devices to access company databases and information, businesses are partially, or in some cases fully, relinquishing the complete control they once had over the security of their information. Employees might not have the same security measures in place on their own devices that the company would have on theirs, and smartphones, tablets, and laptops that come and go from work run more of a risk of getting lost or stolen than devices that are required to remain in the office.

IT Security Professionals: Managing the Challenges of BYOD in the Workplace

There are certain measures that IT security professionals can take to ensure that their workplace continues to run both safely and smoothly in a BYOD environment. Techworld has a number of suggestions for maintaining security:

  • Know exactly who will be accessing the company network. Depending on what kind of company you work for, this may be a difficult task. For instance, if you’re an IT security professional at a college, you’ll have to take into account not only the school’s staff members, but the students as well. It’s important to know who is accessing company data.
  • Make reviewing active accounts a regular task. Going over all of the accounts that are active on your network on a regular basis will help you identify accounts that are still active but shouldn’t be, such as those of a former employee, as well as accounts that reveal potentially suspicious activity, such as a number of unsuccessful login attempts.
  • Be aware of all openings in your network. Although this should already be a priority high on any IT security professional’s weekly checklist, it is vital that you implement a system to keep track of all of the openings in your network, especially since BYOD means that people will be accessing their accounts from different devices with varying levels of security.
  • Prepare to take different levels of security measures depending on the data. Some data must be guarded more carefully than others, and IT security professionals need to be aware not only of who is accessing the network and from where, but of what data they are using, and how easily it can be accessed.

For IT security professionals, managing the challenges that come with a BYOD policy at work can be a difficult task. If you’re an IT technician whose workplace policies are changing or have already switched over to BYOD, you may want to consider obtaining a policy management degree. Any organization with a bring your own device to work policy should make it a priority to have educated employees to protect their assets.

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