It doesn’t matter whether you are an IT administrator or end user, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) potentially presents its own set of challenges.

New technology brings more ways to access data and new types of devices that have all created a shift toward BYOD in what Apple CEO Tim Cook once described as the “post-PC era”.

BYOD is more than just personal computers though, it is smartphones, BlackBerrys, iPads, Galaxy Tabs and more.  The concept of BYOD has now even broadened to include software and services as cloud services provide far greater accessibility.

The shift toward BYOD in the workplace is becoming the expected standard from employees in the modern day workplace.

Prohibiting personal devices does little to solve any security concerns as employees will just end up using their own devices anyway, unmonitored and undeterred by any security policy.

The success of any BYOD program is ultimately measured by your employees’ willingness to use their personal devices within the rules you set for them.  Your organisations security procedures and policies should determine whether and how you adopt BYOD.

However once you overcome the challenges of BYOD a new monster rears its head in the form of BYOS: Bring Your Own Software.

The same technologies that have driven BYOD also allow users to access non-company software, effectively know as Bring Your Own Software (BYOS).

Cloud storage providers such as Dropbox provide users with a way to collaborate on and transfer large documents however these documents could contain data that falls within the scope of your company policies or regulatory guidelines which could place your data at risk.  It is important to evaluate how cloud storage providers transport and store your company’s files.

Your company’s security, BYOD and BYOS can co-exist and it all starts with planning.

Here are 7 Steps you should consider when developing a BYOD security plan:

  • Identify the risks that BYOD introduces to your business
  • Implement a focus group around BYOD and understand the risks and their implications
  • Decide how you will enforce the policies for user-owned devices that are connecting to your network
  • Build a strategy plan to address all key issues and scenarios
  • Evaluate solutions to effectively manage network devices and manage security issues
  • Implement solutions starting with a pilot group across multiple business units
  • Periodically reassess your solutions and assumptions

Implemented properly, a BYOD program can reduce costs while increasing productivity and revenue.  As BYOD goes mainstream in IT departments, security should always be a top priority for users and IT administrators alike.

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