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Should you let your staff use their own devices for work?

With over 60% of companies allowing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), it is not a completely new concept. However, as cyber warfare increases, it does bring some potential threats that savvy businesses should carefully consider. This is true whether your business already allows employees to use their own devices, or whether it is something you are considering introducing.

Allowing staff to use their own devices comes with several benefits. Besides the obvious cost saving of the company not investing in the devices in the first place, a company with a BYOD policy can often save on hardware and software licencing costs.  

One of key benefits is that staff are using devices and operating systems they know and are comfortable using – reducing the need for employee training and increasing productivity. Plus with staff using their own devices there are fewer devices trying to access the Wi-Fi network, keeping more bandwidth available – staff are not accessing on a work device and a personal device. If it’s a personal device, the owner is responsible for any system updates, device upgrades and general maintenance, relieving your IT Team of such responsibility – although the IT Team may be required to help some users keep their devices up to date if there is a lack of technical knowledge.

Embracing BYOD will allow the business access to devices that may not be affordable across the business, equipping an entire workforce with the latest iPhone every year does not come cheap. However, with staff in control of their own devices, the business can benefit from their desire to have the latest tech – but equally, some staff are happy to keep hold of their older tech, which can sometimes provide compatibility problems!

If you’re considering a BYOD approach, there are several things that should be considered. For example, is BYOD mandatory or optional? As a personal preference, many employees prefer to keep their work and personal devices separate. This makes it easier to switch off, and doesn’t feel like work can reach you 24/7.  Whereas some prefer to use their own device, so they are not carrying around 2 phones for example, and feel they can be more productive using a device they already know and are comfortable with.

The obvious thing to consider is security. It is important that personal devices are subject to the same cyber security rules if used for work purposes. In most cases this means work having full management of such devices. It is worth reviewing what capability your cyber security provider has to secure a BYOD workforce. It’s also important to make sure staff feel like they have a choice, as sharing personal information from a personal device will not be comfortable for everyone.

A potential risk, often overlooked, is that of ongoing support. A BYOD culture brings with it potentially thousands of different devices. If your IT Team are expected to support staff, this will mean your IT Team will need to work with all these different devices, some of which may be unknown – what training and infrastructure could they require to enable this? It may not be as much as you think, as in reality there are only a few operating systems largely used across the board, but this should still be a consideration.

As Acronis Cyber Protect Partners, we often help our clients keep their BYOD business secure by implementing Acronis Cyber Protect. Their marketing-leading cyber-security software integrates backup, disaster recovery, protection against malware  and ransomware, remote desktop, and security tools in a single agent to protect both company-owned and BYOD devices. 

If you would like to find out more about Acronis Cyber Protect, or if you’d like help deciding the best way to implement a BYOD policy, please reach out to our experts.

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