Bring Your Own Device: Safety First!

This series about the bring your own device movement (BYOD) was developed in partnership with Visage

Losing a personal phone is hassle. Losing a device loaded with intellectual property or sensitive data from your employer could be a security breach. Welcome to the risks of the “BYOD” era – Bring Your Own Device – the new normal where you can access privileged company resources, like email, file servers and databases, alongside viral videos of Fido.

So, with so much personal and company information used on one device, what precautions are necessary to keep the data safe and secure?

#1: Back up to the cloud

Navigating precautions in the BYOD era is made easier thanks to cloud computing. Connecting your data to the cloud provides a level of visibility, compliance and security, and serves as a loss prevention strategy. It also allows your IT department to adjust resources like servers and networks that impact your ability to work on your device. “The pervasiveness of the cloud has removed any excuse that your personal data should exist in any one physical location,” says Justin Keller, marketing director at Visage, a Concur Connect Gold Partner. “One of the drivers of the BYOD revolution is that devices have become interchangeable with very little switching cost to the consumer.

#2: Lose your phone? Wipe your data

If you device has gone missing and the battery hasn’t died, your company should have protocols on remotely wiping your data. Keep in mind this means everything – photos, apps, videos and all of your personal stuff. Your IT department will have no qualms about deleting every byte of data to protect the company’s interests, including your family photos.

If that sounds a little drastic, one alternative to locking down devices is “containerization.” It’s is a promising security solution that creates an encrypted space or folder on your device, which houses sensitive data and apps. “A lot of interesting solutions surrounding this principle have been introduced to the market recently that may work for some,” says Keller.

#3: You break it, you buy another one

Depending on the policy, the responsibility of cracked screens, dead batteries or other broken parts probably lie with you. It’s easy to replace equipment owned by your company; simply alert your manager. But with BYOD, the responsibility of the physical device is yours – and yours alone.

“What we at Visage see most commonly is this: Employees pick the device they want, the company then pays for the service up to a certain amount every month,” says Keller. “This means the employee's phone is theirs forever, but the company pays for the service – not replacement or maintenance – during the period of employment.”

#4: Keep your personal life private

Think carefully about what personal items you keep on a device you also use for work – any time you don’t follow security precautions or back-up your own data, it’s a risk. To completely distinguish your personal and professional life, there’s only one option: two devices.

“At the ground level, BYOD sounds great,” says Keller. “‘Workers, choose your weapon – bring your own device!’ But it gets infinitely more complex when trying to secure an IT infrastructure, reimbursing hundreds if not thousands of wireless bills, and ensuring proper usage of a device.”

Ready for more tips and insights about BYOD? Check out Visage's webinar on productivity this Thursday, November 29th. Share your safety stories with us below or Tweet us @Concur.

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