Mobile devices have taken the workplace environment by storm, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t use their smartphone, laptop, or other device for work purposes. This trend, called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), helps employers spend less on new solutions, but it also presents a risk that needs to be managed: the Internet of Things (IoT).
According to a study by Tech Pro Research, 59 percent of businesses allow the use of personal devices in the workplace, while only a modest 28 percent were adamant enough to claim that they have no plans of allowing personal devices in the office. Only 13 percent plan on changing their policy over the next year.
We think it’s safe to say that BYOD will continue to grow more popular as time goes on, but the businesses that are vehemently opposing BYOD have valid reasons to be concerned about employee devices. Furthermore, the use of Internet of Things devices, which are known for sharing data amongst each other, is increasing in popularity.
Even if a significant portion of business owners have no plans to integrate the IoT with their business, they might not have a choice if employees bring them into the office unknowingly. Therefore, it should be a top priority to protect your business’s network from the potential harm these devices can cause. This is why it’s important to manage the benefits of BYOD alongside the risks associated with the IoT.
Benefits of BYOD
The Bring Your Own Device revolution provides several great benefits for businesses that want to improve the quality of their operations.
- Lowered equipment costs: If you’re allowing employees to bring in their own technology for work purposes, that’s less money that your business has to spend on outfitting your workers with technology needed for their jobs.
- Greater workforce mobility and satisfaction: If employees are using their own devices for work purposes, it means that they can take their work home with them if need be. They can put in more hours and make more time for other initiatives that create revenue opportunities for your business. Furthermore, employees using their own devices are happier, simply because they’re using familiar technology instead of company-provided workstations.
- Less reliance on IT for maintenance: This benefit might not seem like much, but think of it this way; if employees are able to use their own devices, they’re more likely to take proper care of them. This means updating them with patches and security updates, as well as keeping them in working condition, and it allows IT to spend less time resolving issues with employee devices, and more time innovating and improving operations.
Risks of IoT Devices
Despite all of the great benefits provided by BYOD, there are quite a few risks involved with implementing it. These risks are caused primarily by the Internet of Things, and all of the data-gathering devices it brings to your office. These devices are usually Internet-connected wearables, but the IoT encompasses many kinds of Internet-connected devices, including smart building components like thermostats and light fixtures, smart appliances, and even smart automobiles.
In this case, the primary risk would be the security of your network. Think of it this way: if an IoT device were to become compromised, and the employee brings it to your office, it can infect your network. This is a worst-case scenario, but a very real one. It’s for this reason that it’s imperative that your business should make an attempt to manage IoT devices within your organization. While a health-savvy jogger is unlikely to pose a major risk by wearing their Fitbit into the office, but business owners need to be cognizant of what’s accessing the network, where data is getting stored, and who controls it.
BYOD is developing into an important part of business and if your organization isn’t ready to embrace this trend, you need to take action. Symmetric IT Group can help your organization integrate tools that help you manage device activity on your network, including access to mission-critical data. Furthermore, we can help you prepare for the onslaught of Internet of Things devices that will inevitably enter your network.
For more information, give us a call at (813) 749-0895.