What is the biggest security problem you expect to face in 2014? Chances are it will have something to do with bring your own device (BYOD), as more companies are relying on staff to use their own devices for work purposes. Your employees are probably using their own devices to connect to the company network even if you don’t have a formal BYOD policy in place. The truth is no one seems to disconnect anymore, and that includes checking on work email or accessing documents via the corporate cloud.
While BYOD seems like a great idea on paper and in the budget, we have learned that it is one of the greatest threats to enterprise security. The average mobile-device user simply does not take mobile security seriously enough. For this reason, when Chuck Sweeney, SVP of business development at Securranty posed the question of whether or not employers should provide BYOD protection as a company perk or holiday gift, I thought it was a fabulous idea. So I asked him why employers should offer security plans for their employees’ personal devices, and he cited a number of reasons. For example, providing a protection plan for employee devices is a relatively small operational expense for the company, and no matter the cost, it is still a lot cheaper than the expenses involved with a potential breach or the network becoming infected by a malicious app.
Another reason to provide BYOD security for employees is the ability to have some control over the technology. Some industries require more strict security provisions than others. If left up to the employees themselves, the security software chosen likely won’t provide the coverage needed. By providing the security protection, employers know they are able to provide functions like remote wipe or lock down on a device or can even manage the data on a device that has been damaged.
What about productivity concerns? The primary reason for implementing any corporate mobility program, BYOD included, is to achieve productivity gains, which would drive higher revenue gain at lower costs to the company. Sweeney said to me:
Employers who leave the Mobile Hardware Management (MHM) protection plan decision to the employee run the risk of having a certain percentage of phones unprotected. This places productivity at risk. Employees who choose to forego an MHM protection plan will inevitably experience longer downtime, and that downtime negatively impacts employee productivity. Smart employers can enforce protection by simply purchasing protection on behalf of the employee. Productivity protected. Problem solved.
Providing mobile device security coverage isn’t going to replace the bonus check that employees may be expecting, but Sweeney said that employees will appreciate the BYOD perk because it will alleviate any “employee angst” associated with newly enforced BYOD programs. And employers have the ability to purchase a security plan that is better than the freebie app downloaded to provide at least some coverage. In the meantime, an extra perk for the employees is that their personal information stored on the device is also protected. It’s a win-win holiday bonus for everyone.