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BYOD continues to add challenges for IT leaders

Sarah K. White | March 3, 2016
A recent study shows that more workers are turning to personal mobile devices to get work done, but businesses need to consider not only the security threats, but also the effect on company culture.

The cost of a security breach or loss of data could also cost more than deploying company-owned devices with built-in security measures. In fact, a report from IBM and Ponemon Institute released last spring states that the average cost of a data breach is $154 per record lost. Not only that, but the cost can also extend to reputation and customer loss, totaling an average $1.57 million loss per company. But for industries with highly sensitive data -- such as the healthcare industry -- the cost can skyrocket; the average cost per-record for the healthcare industry was $363.

"Companies instead really need to be realistic about what makes sense -- securing devices has a cost to it," says Scherer. "You need to manage interoperability, install applications, make sure they're up to date, deal with multiple configurations and so on. It's a greater possibility if the company 'owns' the device as they can much more easily control security-oriented functions like remote wipes and automated data backup."

Don't hamper the user experience

Filev says that while it's great to accommodate and even encourage mobile device usage among your workforce, there needs to be "a balance between security and usability." That means, you can't expect to install security features on an employee's personal device that will hamper the user experience in anyway. That's why he suggests looking at services like Android for Work, which allows users to partition their device with a "work side" and a "personal side."

The study notes that 63 percent of workers said they use their own device, and Filev says this is because people are so accustomed to their own smartphones and tablets. He also says that most people won't actually want to carry two devices, which means if your company deploys smartphones or tablets, workers might still turn to their own devices. The user experience is directly related to the productivity, he says, so it's important not to do anything that makes the device harder to use or more cumbersome.

Consider the work-life balance

The study found that 30 percent of respondents said that using a mobile device does affect their work-life balance, which can ultimately lead to less productive employees. Also, 53 percent of workers say, while their company doesn't encourage working after-hours, it doesn't actively discourage it either.

"There's no shortage of studies tying rest and relaxation to greater happiness, productivity, and staff retention, so I believe a lot of forward looking companies and HR departments will soon start proactively educating management and employees on the value of work-life balance," says Filev.

Filev also points out how France is currently considering a "Right to Disconnect" law that would allow workers the right to ignore professional emails, texts or calls outside of business hours. But even before laws need to be drawn up to protect employee's personal time, he says that companies should focus on ingraining a work-life balance in their company culture.

"If the mobile phone gives you access to important information at a critical moment, it saves you time, and helps you be more successful," says Filev. But, he says, "If it spams you with irrelevant updates 24x7, it becomes a distraction."


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