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Risks and rewards of using personal devices for work

20th May 2015


Safeguarding their IT network is already a challenge for many companies. Add to this the trend for employees to use their own tablets and smartphones at work, and keeping your corporate network safe becomes a serious headache.

But, as long as employers follow careful steps, staff using their own devices at work could help boost efficiency and effectiveness and be something businesses should embrace, rather than fear.

Bring your own device to work

An industry analysis on the risks around Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD), by YouGov showed employees often lack a sense of responsibility for protecting locally-stored corporate data. Companies also worry that employees could be accessing sensitive corporate data while on unsecured networks, or find their personal passwords compromised.

Yet introducing strict anti-BYOD polices isn’t the answer, as many employees want the flexibility and familiarity of using their own devices. A recent survey by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reveals that 47% of employees now use their personal device(s) for work purposes.

In the SME sector, where employees are already leveraging mobility solutions and personal devices at a faster rate than those in bigger companies, the cost savings and flexibility benefits of a BYOD strategy could really pay off.

SMEs should be proactive

Proactive steps include providing IT departments and employees with clear polices and user friendly guidance on how to filter and prevent information leaving the organisation.

One option, suggested by the ICO, is that businesses should regulate which types of personal data can be processed on personal devices, and put remote ‘locate and wipe’ facilities in place so the confidentiality of the data can be maintained in the event of loss, theft or personnel change.

Common sense policies

Above all, employers need to be clear with their employees.

Enabling a flexible and collaborative workforce through a clear BYOD strategy presents a clear opportunity to enhance efficiency. Employers need to adopt common sense policies around how personal devices can and can’t be used to view and share company data

As long as they are well prepared, companies should view employees using their own devices at work as an opportunity to leverage potential gains in efficiency.

Author: Nick Horner 020 7929 0108

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