Weighing up the pros and cons of BYOD
As the concept of fixed working hours evaporates across Europe, and we experience an increasing demand for connectivity,...
Employees might love it, but a policy of bring your own device (BYOD) could put your company’s data at risk of being stolen. Here’s how to minimise that risk without annoying your employees.
Smartphones and other portable computing devices are becoming cheaper and more accessible than ever before. Naturally this means it’s easier than ever to access work documents and files from wherever you are. While this represents a huge opportunity for companies, it also poses a big risk.
Smartphone shipments topped 155 million last year in the Middle East and Africa – that’s an increase of more 66 per cent on the previous year, according to analysts IDC. Hybrid devices like two-in-one laptop-cum-tablets are also on the rise in the region; this market grew 17.6 per cent last year, IDC says. This is hardly surprising, given these devices are much more convenient for use in both a work and personal capacity.
The increasing popularity of these devices has led to the rise of a policy known as BYOD. As the name suggests, it allows employees to use their personal phone or laptop for work purposes rather than carrying around a second, work-dedicated device. Employees love the convenience of it, but there is a rather large downside. With every worker free to use their own device, there’s no guarantee it will have the requisite security provisions to protect it from hackers, and hence stop confidential company information falling into the wrong hands.
It’s not just the data stored on the portable device that’s at risk. Some forms of malware lie dormant until the device is plugged into the company network, at which point they spring to life and steal all the data they can from the firm’s servers. As too many companies have found out, the repercussions of such a breach can be disastrous.
Thankfully, companies can protect themselves with a simple policy of choose your own device (CYOD).
CYOD offers all the choice and flexibility of BYOD, but without the security risks. By deciding which devices its employees can choose from, the firm knows exactly what each device’s security provisions are, and will have peace of mind that its data is stored on one of the safest around.
Crucially, it will also know what to do should the device be lost, stolen or infected with malware.
It also streamlines the working process. Because the company will know exactly what version of software the device is running, it can be sure all its own apps and software will be compatible and consistent across the board. That should mean an end to employees’ compatibility issues or even an app looking different on different devices. This makes it easier to use and will hence increase productivity.
CYOD doesn’t necessarily mean employees must carry two devices, either. Some devices let companies create separate ‘zones’ for business and personal use. That way, the company creates a remotely managed zone in the device, where all the confidential data is held and protected by its company-approved encryption and security technology.
So as you see, CYOD can actually be more convenient than BYOD.
It doesn’t mean scrimping on choice, either. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a two-in-one device with four modes to choose from. You can use it as a standard laptop, a tablet, in ‘tent’ mode and with the base folded back behind the screen. So whatever you want to do – a presentation, typing out documents, replying to emails or drawing on the screen using the stylus – it’s up to the task. It’s the ideal tool for work and play.
If you want something a little different, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet certainly stands out from the crowd. It’s a laptop with a projector built-in, so you can beam your presentations straight onto the wall. That means no more lugging around bulky projectors. The keyboard is detachable too and comes in a range of colour options, so you can pick the one that perfectly complements your style.
For a straight-up powerhouse of a laptop, look no further than the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. It’s the third in the wildly successful Carbon Series and is the thinnest ThinkPad ever made. In fact, it’s the lightest 14-inch business laptop in the world, but when it comes to performance, it’s no lightweight. Its 11-hour battery life will last all but the most arduous of days and, with its exclusive RapidCharge technology, it’ll juice up in no time. Go for the optional 4G LTE-A connection, and you’ll always be connected no matter where you are. And the satellite-grade carbon fibre chassis will withstand everything you can throw at it on your travels.
Knowing which devices your employees use doesn’t mean limiting their choice or weighing them down with extra devices. By specifying which devices they can use on the move, you’ll enhance the security of your company, make employees more productive and still offer a great range of devices for on-the-go working. CYOD is your ticket to a more secure, more productive and ultimately more profitable business.