b2ap3_thumbnail_BYOD_AXE.pngIt’s no secret that mobile technology has taken the world by storm. A study by GWI Device indicates that 80% of internet-accessing adults have a smartphone. About half of these adults also own a tablet. So, odds are that the majority of your employees own at least one or more pieces of mobile technology. Out of all the ways that the mobile revolution changed the way the world communicates, the decision on whether or not to allow your employees to use personal mobile devices to perform job-related tasks is a unique one.

Some businesses can benefit greatly by allowing employees to use their own devices, instead of restricting them to company issued equipment. In fact, research indicates that employees who are allowed to use their personal devices for work are happier with their job, as well as more productive. It also eliminates the costs of company-provided technology and carriers. So, if allowing employees to bring their own device (BYOD) makes them happy and saves you money, what’s the downside?

For CIOs, network security is the top concern. While employees may be happier when allowed to use personal devices, that doesn’t mean that businesses can ignore the risks and vulnerabilities that BYOD brings to the their firms. In fact, many CIOs and IT managers feel that BYOD poses a significant threat to their company, but with the proper precautions, it doesn’t have to be.

Here’s four steps that every CIO can take to help reach a balance between BYOD benefits and data security.

  1. Mobile Device Management Policy. Things like access restrictions, device maintenance requirements, and remote wiping capabilities all need to be incorporated under a single policy that employees agree to, in order to maintain security.
  2. Prepare Your Network! CIOs should take measures to ensure that their IT infrastructure is up to the task of handling BYOD and data in a secure fashion.
  3. Educate your Staff. We can’t say this enough! CIOs must make sure that every employee receives training on their BYOD policy. This should include a thorough discussion of the security risks posed by BYOD devices, such as the introduction of malware onto the corporate network from outdated applications.
  4. Take Care of Upkeep. CIOs should make a serious push for employee reimbursement of their BYOD costs to ensure that employees keep their devices up to date with the latest antivirus software and other security technology.

If you are thinking about the pros and cons of BYOD for your business, you’re not alone. At the beginning of 2015, 59% of businesses allowed BYOD and 3 out of 4 CIOs were concerned with the safety issues they raised. However with the proper consultation, planning, and creation of a strong BYOD policy, businesses can enjoy the benefits BYOD offers, while maintaining security.