​How to manage data in the BYOD office

Tips on how to secure data in your organisation

Picture: AJ LEON, Flickr

Picture: AJ LEON, Flickr

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has rapidly become an extremely popular way for established and up-and-coming businesses alike to improve productivity in the workplace. There are numerous benefits, including increased flexibility for staff, cost-savings to businesses, reduced training times, and improved employee satisfaction, as they’re able to work with a device they’re both familiar and comfortable with. While there can be considerable benefits, BYOD has brought a number of unique considerations to the workplace for the IT department.

You’ll sometimes hear IT Managers will sometimes speak about “Grey IT”. This basically refers to devices or programs that are unofficially attached to a company’s network – they’re not actively harmful, but they’re not really meant to be there either, hence the “grey” designation. At its best, grey IT can serve as an important place for innovative new developments – new programs, more efficient processes, and so on. But it’s nonetheless a phenomenon that has been largely discouraged in the interests of protecting the network. BYOD, on the other hand, is functionally a grey IT network made official, and this brings a variety of challenges to the modern office that haven’t really been encountered before – the potential consequences of device loss, data theft and viruses, for instance.

Clear policies

Maintaining security of information is everyone’s business, not solely the responsibility of the IT department. But in order for BYOD to be successful, the IT department needs to be effectively communicating these issues to the wider staff body. The easiest way is typically during induction, at which point the policies – and the consequences for violating them – are clearly outlined, and the new employee is required to sign a binding agreement. It should also be clearly explained that these policies are not in place to “spy” on the private lives of staff; rather, the purpose is to maintain data security. In this way, the business has a means for recourse if inappropriate usage does occur.

Remote control

Data is an invaluable commodity in this day and age – so your business should have relevant tools in place to protect against unwanted intruders and data theft. Again, this becomes more difficult with the advent of BYOD, but is certainly possible. Some companies have handled this via specific apps or web-based programs that contain all of the relevant tools that a staff member would require in order to carry out their workplace tasks. This has the advantage of maintaining the positive attributes of BYOD while also allowing a relatively closed system for work purposes. Perhaps most importantly, it means that access and data can be remotely restricted – or deleted – from the central office. This becomes particularly important when staff move on to a new role or are abruptly terminated, as it can be done with speed, preventing any malicious data theft or dissemination.

Backing up

A comprehensive back-up plan is nothing short of essential for any business, BYOD-based or not. But BYOD does have its own unique challenges. There are logistical concerns, particularly when it comes to mobile devices – they have intermittent internet connections, which means that they can only be backed up periodically. In turn, they may involve additional data costs that staff – and you – are unwilling to pay.

If you’re using browser or cloud-based programs, this will address some of the issues; but as with terms of use, one of the best ways to address this situation early on is to include your backup policy as part of the induction. As with the terms of use, it’s then possible to clearly outline the expectations and potential consequences.

In practical terms, enabling auto-backup for mobile devices as soon as the employee enters a WiFi area can aid in the logistics of this situation. If the employee is office-based, then this ensures that backups will be occurring on a regular basis, and ensuring the integrity of your data. Alternatively, scheduling regular updates can also aid in the process.

With the increasingly diverse ways data is accrued and stored, it’s essential to have solid plans and policies around the way your business’ information is stored. Having the right steps in place from an early stage ensures that BYOD can be used to best effect in your office.

Tony Drewitt is General Manager Acronis ANZ

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags BYODbusinessmobilitybusiness management

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Drewitt

PC World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?