Usually, a few studies is all it takes to determine if a major trend is on the way in or on the way out. Not so in the case of BYOD, where some research indicates it is still gaining in popularity and is here to stay, while other research points to a dwindling number of businesses operating under BYOD policies. Well, is BYOD in or out?
The Numbers are Confusing
|Employees have historically pushed for BYOD for several reasons. One reason is that it's so much easier to carry and manage a single device for work and personal business.|
Here is where the discrepancies get confusing: one recent report indicates that the number of companies forbidding BYOD has risen from 34 percent to 53 percent, while another study indicates that by the year 2017, more than half of all businesses will require employees to provide their own devices for work. This is a considerable discrepancy.
One possible reason for conflicting reports is that many companies say they do not operate under BYOD, but what they don't realize is that even though there is no official BYOD policy in place, workers are still finding ways to use their own devices for company business. Hence, workers say they are in a BYOD environment, while their employers say that they are not.
There are even businesses springing up to help the non-BYOD folks achieve the effect of BYOD. For example, a few innovative companies have developed technology that allows a worker and/or their employer to assign two numbers to a single mobile device. Then, the worker can have a separate number for business and personal use, so that the company can reimburse the worker only for the business portion of that use.
The Company Saying 'No' Doesn't Actually Stop BYOD
What happens when the business forbids BYOD but employees find ways to work around the policy and use their personal devices for work anyway? This is called Shadow IT, and it is a serious problem among businesses. Devices are accessing the network and databases without the watchful eyes of the IT security team. These devices are filled with applications, each with their own inherent vulnerabilities, none of which the IT department knows to be on the lookout for. Plus, issues like lost or stolen devices that are signed into the system or can be easily signed in aren't tracked by IT, meaning these gigantic liabilities are just floating out there with no monitoring or control.
|Just because the rules say not to use a personal device for business doesn't mean that workers aren't accessing your network and systems via unknown devices with indeterminate vulnerabilities.|
The Key to Successful BYOD is to Accept and Regulate It
The smart business does two things. 1. Accepts that BYOD is a reality. 2. Establishes a solid BYOD policy so that IT can monitor the situation.
This way, the IT department and security team can be proactive. Rules to protect the network are put into place and system activities are monitored with a watchful eye. IT can invest in safeguards like technology to wipe data off of a user's device after it gets stolen.
A trend among cell phone carriers is to stop offering subsidies upon purchase of a device, charging more to buy the device while lowering recurring costs like data, text, and voice charges. If this trend keeps up, most companies either can't or won't be able to fork over $800 or so per device, essentially forcing businesses to adopt BYOD. Wouldn't it be better if the policies and procedures to accommodate BYOD were already in place?
Would you like to learn more about how to develop and implement a sound BYOD policy? Visit NETSCOUT today for more information.