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Whether you choose to embrace it or try to resist it, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend is set to grow. A study by Cisco Systems found that 78 percent of white-collar workers in the U.S. use a mobile device for work and 41 percent indicated that most smartphones that connect to the company network are actually employee-owned.
So, if you don’t already have a BYOD policy, you need one.
Employees will connect to your network and use their personal mobile devices for work, whether you allow it or not. In the past, your company network could afford to be hard on the outside and soft on the inside, but nowadays you need to be hard on the inside too.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for a problem like this. In creating a policy, you have to consider what devices you’ll need to support, how much access you’ll give them, and what kind of budget you can allocate. Do you have specific compliance issues to contend with? Are you willing to subsidize data plans or device purchases? How do you ensure company data is kept safe?
If you have an existing policy for laptops, that can be a good place to start.
Take the time to assess and weigh your employees’ desires against the company’s needs. If you can get a solid agreement in place and create a user policy that your employees are happy to sign, it should be easy. Setting up a comprehensive policy will require work upfront, but will also safeguard you against disputes and problems later.
That same Cisco study also found that the top two perceived benefits of BYOD were “improved employee productivity (more opportunities to collaborate) and greater job satisfaction.” By arming your employees with access to company tools, you can certainly boost productivity.
A recent Good Technology survey found that “more than 80 percent of people continue working when they have left the office — for an average of seven extra hours each week — almost another full day of work.”
Taking advantage of that trend and equipping those employees with access to the information and tools they need to work effectively at home makes a lot of sense.
Younger workers expect to have access to social media. They will use their personal devices in the workplace whether you condone it or not, so why not make sure that they have the ability to use them for work rather than just play?
As the traditional division between work life and personal life breaks down, it’s important employers seize the opportunity. A solid BYOD policy sets boundaries and establishes expectations for everyone concerned. It can lead to a happier and more productive workforce. With the right planning, that can be achieved without compromising data security.
By Michelle Drolet, founder and CEO, Towerwall
Special to Worcester Business Journal
In a great article by Ted Samson at InfoWorld, that not even a complex, 16-character password guarantees that your cloud-based data and devices are secure.
Here is what Ted had to say:
This past weekend, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak predicted that cloud computing would yield “horrible problems” in coming years. By extraordinary coincidence, Wired reporter Mat Honan experienced firsthand a series of horrible, cloud-related problems, all of which reportedly started when an unnamed Apple employee reset his iCloud password at the request of a hacker posing as Honan.
This marks the second high-profile cloud-related snafu in the past week, the first being the the Dropbox fiasco where hackers pulled a list of Dropbox customer email addresses from a Dropbox employee’s Dropbox account. The incidents almost render moot the raging debate over on Sophos’ Naked Security blog as to whether Microsoft’s newly rebooted Outlook.com should support more than a 16-character limit on passwords. Evidently even the strongest, most complex password is no match for the formidable combination of hacker perseverance and resourcefulness and end user naiveté (or ignorance) about best security practices.
Let’s start with what happened to Wired’s Honan. By his account, a malicious hacker gained entry to his iCloud account and used it to remote wipe all of his devices, including his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air. The initial mystery: How did the hacker get his or her hands on Honan’s password? “My password was a 7-digit alphanumeric that I didn’t use elsewhere. When I set it up, years and years ago, that seemed pretty secure at the time,” Honan wrote.
Honan’s first guess was that hacker employed brute force techniques to crack the password. While that might have been feasible, it wasn’t the case. “They got in via Apple tech support and some clever social engineering that let them bypass security questions,” Honan wrote in an update.
Once the hacker got into Honan’s iCloud account, it was matter of time before he or she was able to wipe Honan’s iDevices, as well as wreaking other havoc, such as changing his Gmail account password and purging that account.