Five BYOD disaster stories
By Catherine McFarland • 03 Apr 2014
White knight or devil in disguise?
The growing phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is causing all sorts of conundrums for business and IT managers. With more and more employees using their personal mobile devices for work, managers are challenged to balance the saving benefits with the hellish hazards. Here are five situations you want to avoid.
Non-compliance with data and privacy protection acts
Are you confident that your organisation is compliant with the data protection directives, privacy protection acts and government regulations on BYOD? When companies let employees access data on personal devices, there's a real chance they're breaking the law. According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, there is a “worrying lack of guidance from employers” as fewer than three in 10 employees who use their personal device for work are guided on how their devices should be used.
Failure to comply, however, can result in seriously damaging consequences such as hefty fines, loss of reputation, earnings and clients.
Creating your own media disaster story
What's the worst thing that could happen to a company in a BYOD world? It’s most likely receiving a call from a news reporter asking about compromised data on a lost or stolen laptop, smartphone or tablet.
If you’re a small-medium business such as a law firm, and one of your lawyers leaves their phone on the bar, you could end up on the front cover of “The Times” or “The Lawyer” and suffer damage to your reputation worth literally millions of pounds. And you don’t want to experience what Glasgow City Council did when they received a hefty £150,000 fine for the loss of 76 unencrypted laptops containing personal data and bank accounts of 20,000 people.
Setting up a trust barrier
If managed well, BYOD can bring people together. Employees get to use technology of their choosing and IT no longer has to play the disapproving dowager as well as manage all the various contracts. But that can all get a little tricky if you then ask employees to sign a draconian BYOD end-user policy that stamps on an employee's expectation of privacy.
A sadly low three out of 10 employees completely trust their employer to keep personal information private, according to a MobileIron-commissioned survey of 3,000 workers. And a widening trust gap can quickly escalate from head-shaking to finger-pointing to employee lawsuits claiming privacy rights violations.
Decreasing employee productivity
BYOD – again, if managed well - can make employees happy and more productive. 78% of employees believe that having a single mobile device helps balance employees’ work and personal lives, according to Samsung.And with a BYOD gadget of their choosing also being used for work, employees will carry them around practically all the time, so they can access work material easily in the evenings and on weekends. However, some organisations have seen employees slack off, getting distracted by Facebook or Pinterest. Hence the new concept of the BYOD blacklist.
Untrustworthy cloud storage services
Finally, there’s the problem of using insecure cloud storage services such as Dropbox. If your company supports BYOD, you can bet there's corporate data in a consumer cloud service. Confidential corporate data can find its way into these consumer repositories and out of the reach of IT and the business. But not out of its responsibility. There are trustworthy cloud storage services out there.
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