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Written by Hitachi Systems Security on 23 June 2021

The Personal Device Debate: Should Your Employees Use Them At Work?

There are pros and cons to allowing employees to use personal devices at work. For example, personal devices became standard work tools during the pandemic, with most employees opening sensitive work-related documents on personal cell phones, laptops, and tablets.

 

Now that some companies are still offering a work-from-home option or a hybrid office and home option, employees that became used to using personal devices will continue to do so. Many organizations will not think about giving employees work devices to use at home or asking employees to update software and install security features-- this is a recipe for data theft.

 

Some Options

 

Restricting the use of personal devices isn’t likely to go over well with employees. Further to that point, most employees will ignore HR decrees to stop using personal devices. So let’s be realistic: personal devices are helpful because they are convenient, easy to use, personal, and give people an all-access pass to office work, increasing productivity.

 

Instead, employees should understand the risk of personal data theft. Of course, company data can be stolen. Still, the risk of using a personal device will hit home when employees realize that their data might be a target, too-- if hackers are going after company data, why not grab some personal details on the side?

 

Expressing the implications of a lost or stolen device may also be an excellent way to explain to your team the drawback of using a personal device. But, if you will allow team members to use personal devices, make sure a few basic rules are implemented.

 

Important Rules to Follow

 

Update: devices must be updated at all times to avoid accessible openings for hackers.

 

Security: laptops and other tools need adequate protection, and intranets should be accessible without connecting to an approved security feature.

 

Image Caution: pay attention to what data or information is part of a screengrab. Hackers do look for data on a laptop that happens to be in a selfie photo or numbers on a table that may be a clue to a password. Yes, this happens.

 

Company Ability to Wipe Devices: this one might be a hard sell with employees, but if team members insist on using their own devices, organizations should have the right to wipe those devices clean should they become compromised, lost, or stolen.

 

Restricted App Use: sure, that new app that promises to cut number-crunching time in half looks great, but is it secure? It only takes one employee using a new app on a personal device to give away sensitive company data.

 

Personal Devices Aren’t Going Anywhere

 

Allowing employees to use their own devices can save companies money and increase efficiency, but they come with a slew of data precautions. Moreover, as most of the workforce is still working from home, those devices aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, more apps and devices may be used in the future to make the work-home balance simpler.

 

Restricting device use isn’t the answer to the BYOD problem, but setting some policies and working with your team to ensure data is secure is necessary. If you aren’t sure whether or not your company data is in jeopardy, we can help you figure that out with a complete security test (you’d be surprised at the things our experts discover!).

 

Call us for more details or send us a quick note for more information.

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