Some of today’s BYOD – “bring your own” mobile devices are not always company-owned. You may think it saves you money by not buying devices for your employees – but it also means that your IT department can’t always control what takes place when your employees use the devices – at work or at home. Accidental virus, adware and malware infections that can be brought to your business computer network can be a widespread occurrences – and it may cost you more then price of devices, – in downtime, support and security threats remediation.

When proper security safeguards are in place to protect them, allowing your staff to access business networks from their personal mobile devices at any time can improve productivity and bring business growth; when done right, it can also save you money in the long run. If you have not done so yet, now is the good time to invest in a reliable computer network infrastructure with safeguards, capacity and bandwidth to support your employees BYOD. Most importantly, look for solutions that offer the scalability and security features to accommodate company needs in the long run. Doing so will not only make your life easier, and benefit your business in the years to come.

Steve Walsh, Greater Boston regional vice president of Comcast Business shared the following information:

Earlier this year, Comcast polled more than 2,000 businesses about whether they were seeing an increase in the number of devices – such as smartphones and tablets – connecting to their wireless networks. A whopping 75 percent said yes. Of those, a third said they were already experiencing network performance issues as a result, which means that it’s only a matter of time before the remaining two-thirds start to encounter similar issues.

 Consider one more important factor:  NAS – a Network Attached Storage devices are becoming increasingly popular not just for small business office, but also for home use. It means that people store more data at home – including media files – images, music, videos – that are commonly shared by users between their devices. When we store more data, we find more uses for it. In a typical scenario, a user will copy files on the USB device from their home, their friends computers, etc. and bring it to the office for personal entertainment while at work. Even if they copy licensed material for personal use and stick to anti-piracy laws, sharing files may not be against company policy. But remember, since your IT staff cannot control condition of user’s personal network at home, it can spell trouble for your business network if any malware hitches a ride…

Remember that all devices have their vulnerability – phones and tablets are commonly using public Wi-Fi connections and can be an easy target. Laptops can make your systems vulnerable because users commonly use USB storage to share data between devices. Not to mention that anything mobile can be easily lost, stolen or damaged in a way where it can compromise or destroy company-sensitive materials.

Without the proper security safeguards in place to protect them, you can put your entire business at risk. How can you prevent this?

3 simple steps to drastically minimizing security risks

Minimize the risks by finding ways to

  • Limit employee access to critical data. It also means limit employees USE of critical data on their personal devices. Sure, analyzing that important spreadsheet on your tablet and having extra work done while enjoying coffee at a local shop sounds productive… but free Wi-Fi also means a hacking opportunity for a clever data thief. Allowing employees to walk away with your data on their personal devices should be unacceptable
  • Boost up authentication methods.  Software is constantly being added to the market to let IT administrators set controls so that users are unable to use certain programs without prior authorization when accessing certain devices and applications.
  • Enforce strict critical use policies.  Discourage use of company devices for personal use, especially when sharing data is involved. Create a written critical use policy, make your employees sign it and enforce it with vigilance.