Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), also commonly referred to as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), is a fairly new concept in which employers are giving permission to their employees to use their own personal mobile devices in order to complete work-related tasks. These devices may include their mobile phone, typically smart phones with its advanced tools and technology, as well as tablet PC’s, like Apple’s iPad. While BYOT is enticing to employees as many feel more comfortable in the workplace when they can use mobile devices they are more accustomed to for occupational duties, there are a variety of security risks that must be addressed prior to giving consent to employees.
Benefits of BYOT
Before we get into the risks of BYOT, let’s discuss the benefits, which are many. As discussed previously, employees that are given this option often jump at the chance to use their smart phones or own PC’s for work duties. They are familiar with these devices, and feel like they can often do a better job with their own familiar equipment. As a benefit to the employer, employees with the BYOT option often have increased productivity and morale, as well as increased mobility and flexibility.
Types of BYOT Risks
While the benefits of BYOT may seem enticing to employees and employers alike, the risks associated with unsecured mobile devices and technology may outweigh the benefits in some cases. The following are the most common BYOT risks:
The potential liability risks of using mobile devices for work-related duties is a common fear due to how easily they can get lost or stolen. Mobile devices are often small, lightweight, and very regularly left in locations that are not safe or protected. This becomes a liability issue if important and confidential company information exists on the device, especially since it can be made public by whoever found or stole the device.
Mobile devices used for BYOT are often running on the same network as the rest of the company, where sensitive and confidential customer and company data is being transferred. If the mobile device is not highly secured, this data can be leaked therefore leading to a variety of security breaches. When employees use other applications on the same device they perform work duties, such as personal email, Facebook or Twitter, or if they download apps from non-reputable sites, they increase the likelihood of security breaches.
Software Licensing Audits
Ordinarily, companies have software licensing audits in place for the software installed on company computers. This keeps the network and private data confidential where only authorized individuals may access it. However, when employees take advantage of BYOT and use their own mobile devices, the software licensing audits are not performed, and therefore the security risks are increased.
Bring Your Own Technology may be the next step in how companies operate, but the risks associated with BYOT should be addressed before employees are permitted to use their mobile devices for work-related tasks. As technology becomes more advanced, so do security risks; therefore, protecting company data becomes essential.