Small business BYOD on the rise: Challenges and benefits

Jan 07, 2015

2015-04-16 Smartphone User.jpgWithin the past few years, there has been an increasing utilization of BYOD strategies. While this trend is true in nearly every enterprise and industry sector, arguably the most growth is happening in small businesses.

According to an IDC study, small businesses have been thegreatest adopters of BYOD and mobile security strategies, reported MaaS360.

“Small businesses have seen the most growth in BYOD device uptake and have responded by implementing policies that govern how those devices are used,” said IDC research director Chris Chute.

He added that this is a considerable shift from last year, when nearly half of small businesses stated they did not support BYOD within their organizations and did not plan to do so in the future.

“Now, with the availability of hosted software and easy-to-implement solutions, SMB IT managers feel much more comfortable allowing personal devices access to internal IT resources,” Chute said.

Small business BYOD security risks
As smaller organizations increasingly take advantage of BYOD initiatives, it is critical that their decision-makers understand the security risks involved in such practices and how they can be mitigated.

One such BYOD security issue is supporting the safe transmission of business files and information across the mobile platform. Mobile malware and other attack techniques can put this content as risk if not properly protected. However, a secure file sharing program can provide a safe environment in which online file sharing can take place. This way, employees can send and receive sensitive business content without worrying about cybercriminals intercepting it.

Cisco contributor Anne Field also pointed out that major security issues arise when employees lose their BYOD-supported mobile devices, or when handheld hardware is stolen. These problems can be compounded if a worker quits without giving sufficient notice, and leaves with company-owned information still stored on their smartphone or tablet. Before this type of issue arises, decision-makers should implement mobile access controls including authentication protection, as well as a mobile management solution that features remote wiping capabilities.

Small business BYOD benefits and considerations
While BYOD practices can have their share of risks, they can also provide myriad benefits for small businesses, especially for cost savings, noted Tech Cocktail. Many smaller organizations operate on considerably reduced budgets and cannot provide technology to their workers like large enterprises can. Instead of putting the group’s capital toward purchasing smartphones and tablets for staff, administrators can instead implement a BYOD program, allowing their employees to utilize their own personal devices. In this way, the group benefits from all the advantages BYOD has to offer – boosted productivity, increased collaboration and better access to company resources – while also saving money.