BYOD preparedness: Is your company ready for the mobile revolution?

Feb 26, 2015

2015-02-26 Team.jpgWhen mobile devices like smartphones and tablets first emerged on the market, users found innumerable ways to leverage this hardware in their day-to-day lives. It’s only natural, then, that these mobile endpoints would find their way into the corporate sector to streamline processes and improve the capabilities of employees in a range of businesses.

However, companies cannot take advantage of all the benefits BYOD has to offer if they are not prepared to handle the challenges that come along with the initiative. In fact, the 2014 State of Security Survey from ITIC and KnowBe4 found that more than half of enterprises – 53 percent – are not ready for the security implications that come with BYOD, according to Accounting Technology.

Furthermore, although 10 percent of organizations experienced cybercriminal intrusion on their employee-owned smartphones, tablets and laptops, 40 percent of survey respondents had no safeguards or policies in place to identify when a breach occurs.

Overall, the survey found that the majority of companies – 65 percent – now support BYOD. However, 55 percent of businesses don’t have any plans in place for boosting their mobile security alongside their growing remote workforce.

“Mobile devices are the new target-rich environment,” said Kevin Mitnick, chief hacking officer at KnowBe4. “Based on lessons learned in the early days of the personal computer, businesses should make it a top priority to proactively address mobile security so they avoid the same mistakes [of the PC era] that resulted in untold system downtime and billions of dollars in economic loss.”

How to know if you’re ready for BYOD: Questions and considerations
Before taking on an overarching mobile strategy, company leaders must ensure that their business is ready for such a policy. Smart Data Collective contributor Rick Delgado pointed out that enterprises that are well prepared for BYOD are those that are flexible, and able to make changes and are also built on trust.

“Company leaders put a lot of trust in their employees when they sign up for a BYOD program,” Delgado wrote. “Employees need to know exactly what is expected of them. Communication lines need to be open as employers and employees work on rules and regulations for the use of their personal devices.”

In this manner, Delgado advised that all staff members work together to create a company-wide plan that includes the benefits that BYOD will provide to the organization, as well as the security measures that will be instituted. Furthermore, enterprise leaders must also ensure that their IT department is up to the task of dealing with BYOD needs.

In order to guarantee BYOD preparedness, decision-makers should ask themselves the following questions before rolling out the initiative:

  • How will BYOD benefit the company?
  • Are staff members from the IT team and other departments prepared to deal with the implications of BYOD?
  • What mobile security is already in place? What other safeguarding measures need to be added?
  • How will the company guarantee secure file sharing?
  • How do stakeholders and employees feel about a potential BYOD initiative?

Once these questions have been considered, enterprises will not be left vulnerable when deploying BYOD.