With the forced switch to work from home and the following transition to hybrid working, laptops and – to some extent – home desktops have become a key tool in the workplace. However, the necessity for such items has not come without its problems.
Firstly, there is the question of who provides the device. For large companies this can be less of an issue, the funds are readily available to provide employees with the right equipment. The occasional issue here is whether the employee would be willing to use it and carry around their work laptop on top of their personal one. On the other hand, for smaller companies with less of an IT budget, the issue is affordability to provide their employees with the appropriate IT kits.
What does Bring Your Own Device mean for businesses?
The answer to either conundrum is the ability to allow the employee to ‘bring your own device (BYOD)’. For work from home, this can take the form of either laptop or desktop. For hybrid working, this will most certainly come in the form of a laptop. Now, there is one key benefit to BYOD: it saves businesses a lot of money. Especially for smaller companies, it can also contribute to their ability to function if the IT budget is not allocated to stretch! However, whilst it saves money at the first glance, it could end up costing later without the right infrastructure in place.
Problems with Bring Your Own Devices
‘Why is that?’ you may ask. If your IT works properly, your company runs on a very stable and secure network. But BYOD poses potential risks and threats to it. Right out of the bat there is the question of autonomy, and this is where the bulk of issues with BYOD can come from. Quite justifiably, employees may have issues with allowing their employers and IT departments to completely manage their personal machines. Due to the personal data that would exist within it, this can be a real grey area in terms of employee rights and privacy. Employees who do not want their machines to be managed cause the inability to audit and monitor those computers. This is a severe problem as the responsibilities to deploy and manage anti-virus and other systems fall into employees hands. An outdated computer creates an easy target for bad actors and is a huge vulnerability. They could additionally run programmes or files from questionable that could be riddled with trojan horses, spyware, or any other malware out there that allows hackers access in some shape or form.
Another key issue with BYOD is the reverse of why employees may not want you to completely manage their personal devices. This issue is around data governance. Imagine you operate within a BYOD structure and for issues of privacy, you have not taken over full management of the device. The employee of course has tons of company files and data sent to them over the years of countless projects. The employee is now quitting or being fired. What happens to all that data? Some of which could be severely sensitive. Here are some possible scenarios:
The employee leaves on good terms!
Happy days, right? You may be able to invite them back into the office to show you that everything is deleted. Sounds plausible and practical, right? An ex-employee driving for miles to show you a clean Windows screen. Let’s look at another example.
The employee leaves on bad terms …
Chances are that they downright refuse to travel for you, delete the data or even respond to the requests to do so? If it is the latter, you are now in a position where an unhappy ex-employee can continue to have access to sensitive data. Doesn’t sound like one of the worst-case scenarios at all right?
Dealing with BYOD
Our number one priority as your trusted Technology Success Provider is security. We cannot stretch enough that you need to be strict in your BYOD policies. If you run a company that can afford to supply work PCs, then absolutely do so. If the employee has issues with carrying a personal and work PC, then tolerate BYOD only with an agreement to external monitoring and management. For smaller companies this solution may not present itself, so just try to be as balanced as you can always emphasising the need for security.
Building the bridge between BYOD and data governance
The answer to all your data troubles is Microsoft Azure Rights Management (Azure RMS). This nifty little piece of software allows you to control access to data that belongs to you and your company. It means that at any point you can give or revoke access to files and documents on a micro or macro scale. Has an employee moved departments and you no longer want them to have access to certain documents? Has an employee shown promise and, whilst not ready for a promotion, you want to give them access to one project to see what they can do? Has an employee been fired and is downright refusing to delete data? Do you fall under any compliance, legal discovery or information management regulations?
In all these cases and more Azure RMS is the right tool for you!
So, remember BYOD can help to save money and create smooth collaboration in a home or hybrid working environment. You just need to make sure you have a policy in place that sets out where the employee’s rights and responsibilities end, and your companies’ rights and responsibilities begin. You then need to have the correct tools in place to support this policy. The more autonomy the employee gets the more tools you will probably need. However, all this needs to be backed up by the right infrastructure and network.
What is the right infrastructure and what does a secure network look like? Well, find out in the next article in this series or watch our YouTube video on making the home network secure. This article is the first in a series that goes hand in hand with our YouTube Series ‘How to protect Yourself and your Business’ in partnership with NatWest. If you haven’t had a chance yet we suggest you check out the YouTube video! It’s a great auditory guide that gives you the best understanding of BYOD and how it can impact the workplace.
Feel free to book a session to go through this topic in more detail by clicking ‘Schedule Online’ in the top right corner of this page. Speak soon!