As a general rule, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has helped to revolutionise the modern workplaces, with an estimated 60% of all commercial ventures set to have embraced this progressive concept by the end of 2016. Despite this, there remains a sense that small businesses are reluctant to embrace this technology, despite the obvious cost savings that would be accessible to them.
This has much to do with a lack of technical expertise and the perceived security risks that surround BYOD, which are reinforced by the fact that an estimated 54% of IT professionals in Europe currently believe that the dangers posed by the concept continue to outweigh its potential cost and productivity benefits.
With this in mind, the key is for small businesses to understand the complexities of BYOD and leverage it in a compliant, safe and effective manner.
This will enable them to capitalise on the numerous advantages while also negating the potential risks, so here are some steps to help you achieve this: –
Ensure that BYOD Devices Are Connected Through a Secure, Wireless Network
If you have ever searched for commercial property through an outlet such as GVA, you will probably be aware that there are various different types of structures and spaces available. While BYOD theoretically enables your business to reduce the amount of space required due to a diminished reliance on hardware, however, you will need to secure locations that benefit from a reliable and secure, wireless Internet connection.
This has two key benefits when implementing BYOD. Not only does it enhance connectivity and drive out-of-hours engagement, for example, but it also ensures that data is shared across a secure network connection. This negates the risk posed by bringing employee-owned devices into the workplace, particularly in relation to sensitive data and the intellectual property that is central to your business.
When you combine a secure an reliable wireless network with policies that define data sharing and protection processes, you can minimise the potential risk of BYOD within your SME.
Assign Information Owners
On a similar note, as a small business owners you must also create a culture of accountability throughout your firm. More specifically, you should look to assign information owners who are responsible for the use and sharing of data-sets, while empowering these individuals to drive compliance and protect the integrity of your business at all times.
Of course this is a significant responsibility, but it is necessary in circumstances where external devices will have access to sensitive customer and business data. These individuals can also manage file and data access, ensuring that only selected individuals can browse or share information that is of a private, sensitive or confidential nature.
Above all else, this means that while such information will be accessible across selected BYOD hardware, there are experienced individuals to manage the data sharing process and assume responsibility should things go wrong.
Make Auditing Your Key Watchword
On a final note, those who are new to the concept of BYOD should work tirelessly to ensure that all processes and devices are audited on a regular basis. There are several standard programs available to firms, although SMEs may benefit from creating an independent auditing process that suits their unique operation.
This is integral to the successful adaptation of BYOD, particularly over a sustained period of time. It also enables you to review data sharing and storage processes as you secure network and business infrastructure grows, guaranteeing compliance and best practice at any given point in time.
Similarly, one of the most tangible benefits of BYOD is the fact that it enables your business to access up-to-date devices, but constantly upgrading hardware may require you to refine your data management processes. Without this, you may be left with practices that are outdated in ineffective in the face of advanced hardware, which in turn could leave your files vulnerable to attack.
These steps should enable you to minimise the risks of BYOD, while also benefiting from its unique advantages.