Amidst COVID challenges, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) became a key enabler of flexible and agile working solutions – and workplace culture is forever changed. But with the great convenience, mobility, and cost savings BYOD delivers also comes great security risk – making a robust BYOD policy and virtual desktop as a service tools essential to keeping business data safe from hackers.
What’s driving the BYOD trend?
BYOD offers enterprises a budget-friendly alternative to purchasing and issuing work-specific devices for every employee and contractors. BYOD also helps businesses overcome weeks and even months of delays in ordering new hardware due to what the U.S. Department of Commerce calls an “alarming” computer chip shortage expected to continue through at least 2023.
While PC shipments increased 15% last year to meet unprecedented, pandemic-fueled demand, the chip shortage still has companies struggling to supply all the equipment they need to support remote work. In addition, as companies become more global with workforces spread across different cities and countries, issuing and supporting these devices has also become a big challenge.
Not surprisingly, 95% of enterprises are allowing employees to use personal devices at work and 87% are dependent on employees’ ability to access mobile business apps from personal smartphones. Even IT decision-makers who hesitated before are embracing BYOD, realizing benefits including:
- Increased mobility naturally increases productivity. A BYOD-carrying employee works an extra two hours a day and sends 20 more emails per day. 1 in 3 also check their email before work hours.
- Employees work faster and more comfortably because no time is lost “getting to know” a company device that likely has older technology and an unfamiliar operating system. They also can balance their personal and professional lives more easily because they don’t have to carry several devices.
- As remote collaboration becomes the new normal, BYOD increases employee retention and satisfaction by building flexibility around when and where they can work. 60% of women and 52% of men say they would quit jobs where remote work isn’t an option.
- Besides the cost savings of not purchasing work devices, companies no longer bear sole responsibility for replacing them if they become lost or broken. Employees tend to take better care of personal devices as well.
- Not having to supply hardware enables faster onboarding for companies hiring or scaling quickly.
Convenience can clash with security
Yet while BYOD offers many advantages, businesses need to consider the full implication of allowing employees to access corporate data on personal devices they have little or no control over:
- Personal devices may have ineffective or minimal anti-virus and anti-malware protections.
- Personal devices may have open vulnerabilities.
- People often neglect patch management on personal devices, so they may lack the latest and most secure operating systems and applications.
- Without the right security measures, stolen or lost devices can provide easy access to corporate networks and data. Device loss accounts for 41% of data breaches.
- Using unprotected public Wi-Fi networks to access the company creates a significant security risk.
- While BYOD reduces hardware spend, it can increase operating costs and complexity for IT Departments that must integrate and remotely support a diverse range of non-standard devices and operating systems.
- Employees often raise privacy concerns when companies attempt to implement security measures like monitoring email or browsing histories on personal devices.
Smart tips for implementing effective BYOD policies
Enabling employees to use personal devices for work-related tasks without stringent safeguards and guidelines exposes your business to cyber-threats. In 2021, the cost of a data breach had reached an unprecedented $4.24 million for U.S. enterprises, including regulatory, legal, and reputational damages.
And less than 40% of companies have a formal BYOD policy.
A BYOD policy protects your organization with a set of rules governing how employees should and shouldn’t use personal electronic devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets to access business applications and data on-premises and remotely. Ultimately, its goal is to ensure employees understand what’s allowed and how to use it – maintaining employee privacy without compromising organizational security.
At a minimum, key considerations should include:
- Data ownership
- Security responsibility of end-users
- Types of supported devices
- How IT remotely connects and supports these devices
Choosing the right virtual desktop as a service tool to support your BYOD policy
Responsibility for implementing tools, controls, and processes that support a BYOD policy and enable a secure connection to corporate networks and data rests squarely on IT’s shoulders.
Choosing the right virtual desktop as a service tool is essential for success. The ideal tool allows centralized access and management of published corporate applications while simultaneously securing and controlling critical aspects of an end-user’s device while in session.
Implementing an exceptional managed desktop as a service platform enables organizations to push rules to end-user devices, temporarily change device configuration settings while in session, publish or remove applications for users, set multi-factor authentication (MFA), wipe devices remotely, push device encryption, and more.
Ultimately, it creates:
- Easier deployments.
- Quicker integrations for users and their equipment.
- More efficient centralized management of devices.
Choosing a managed desktop as a service platform that properly balances company security with employee privacy is a critical concern. The best tools lock down end-user devices only when they are connected to the company.
That enables secure connection sessions controlled centrally by IT without changing operating system settings that would prevent employees from using their devices normally when the session ends. Exceptional virtual desktop as a service tools also avoid invasive actions such as accessing personal pictures or records.
Important capabilities include:
- Blocking physical ports that might allow users to copy unauthorized data.
- Validating end-user devices meet minimum security requirements before connection begins. For instance, ensuring devices have proper anti-virus and anti-malware protections, updated patches, and more.
- Preventing non-required applications from running during connection sessions.
BYOD peace of mind stems from the right IT partner
The abrupt transition to a remote workforce during COVID accelerated BYOD adoption, leaving IT Departments scrambling to develop scalable and manageable security solutions that can keep pace with evolving needs. Implementing a well-developed BYOD policy and virtual desktop as a service tool is essential to reaping BYOD’s many rewards while maintaining peace of mind that access to corporate data and networks stays secure.
However, most IT Departments lack the time or expertise to identify and prevent all the security pitfalls stemming from today’s ever-evolving variety of threats. Partnering with an exceptional IT managed services provider stops convenience from clashing with security, offering best practices, innovative solutions, and proven tools already in place for a robust BYOD strategy.
Reputable providers have deep experience conducting a full risk assessment and developing clear and acceptable use policies that aren’t too restrictive for employees. They stay up to date on regulatory requirements that impact BYOD.
And they are experts at selecting, implementing, and managing the managed desktop as a service platform that provides the greatest BYOD support for your unique needs.
An effective BYOD policy supported by an exceptional virtual desktop as a service tool can save money, drive productivity, increase flexibility, and enhance employee satisfaction. Choosing the right IT managed services partner to implement and manage BYOD solutions helps ensure your employees will not only work better, but smarter.