Beware BYOD danger

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Worldwide the “BYOD” trend is gaining traction, but the risk of data loss and security breaches increase when staff use their own phones, tablets and laptops to access company information.

Online security company Symantec polled more than 3,000 SMBs and found that lax mobile security costs SMBs $126,000 each year. It also found that the BYOD trend was generally outpacing companies’ ability to update security protocols.

A hacked mobile device could give access to confidential and sensitive files, and there were issues of who owned company data downloaded to a personal device after an employee left the company.

Canadian businesses may have an advantage as the growth of BYOD is slower here, with a recent HP survey showing less than 20 per cent of companies intend to introduce it, giving HR and IT a chance to work together to develop processes to protect the company and its data.

“We expected to see a stronger trend but there’s a lack of interest or strong feeling both from management and from the employee side,” says John Cammalleri, vice president, SMB and partner sales of HP Canada. “The requirement for mobile technology is definitely there, but the differentiation came down to ‘Do you need to bring your own device?’ It seems it’s not a priority.”

The survey showed resistance on the side of the workers was based on concerns over the practice affecting work/life balance, while security and productivity remain key concerns for employers.

Employees were more focused on accessing information remotely, reinforcing the increasing popularity of cloud technology. This also required improved security, which was a major worry for businesses.

“It’s a caution to employers to find out what their employees need before implementing policies,” Cammalleri says. “For employers security is the primary concern around having a device that has corporate information on it.”

 

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