It is an unavoidable fact that more than 50% of UK businesses have now had their data compromised directly as a result of allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace. These figures are as a result of research done by Virgin media; Virgin polled 500 UK CEOs and the findings are more than slightly hair raising. They are backed up by companies such as Coara commercial asset recycling who understand only too well the issues, as they deal with hard drive destruction, electronic recycling and computer disposal on a daily basis.

There can be little doubt that BYOD is raising the security stakes and that companies are not doing enough…yet…to protect their data and possibly the information of the public either.

The issues that BYOD and Virgin’s research have highlighted are serious ones but BYOD should not be shot out of the water just yet. The research has also indicated that small businesses and new business ventures are experiencing fewer infiltrations than larger and this is comforting news…especially given the fact that smaller companies are less likely to have the funding in place to support sweeping changes to their IT departments.

There are of course multiple ways in which BYOD can put company data at risk, not least is the commonplace threat of an employee’s family members using the same device…sharing an iPad for instance and accidentally releasing information which could be highly sensitive.

Loss of company data in this way would never be an issue in the past, the computers in a place of work were exactly that…in a locked office, not floating around a busy home available to children who are tech savvy enough to pull all kinds of tricks with them.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is the best way to ensure that all precautions have been taken; MDM will allow businesses to retain a small portion of a personally owned device for their own needs.

The use of MDM will ensure that documents and information which are strictly for work purposes, are secured and in a sense “locked” away…and the capabilities to wipe information from lost or stolen devices are also an undeniable plus in terms of MDM.

Whilst there are still so many companies who are ignoring the rise of BYOD, there will be more and more security risks happening and more data of a sensitive nature is possibly open to abuse.

Companies of all types…no matter what their size need to look at the options with regards to BYOD and MDM. The figures for the amount of employees using BYOD are set to rise and if this goes unchecked, there will be consequences which will be difficult to rectify unless businesses become pro-active to educate employees.

The issue is of particular importance to businesses which deal with the public and with personal data. Not only companies which hold financial details or medical files and children’s services could all be deeply affected by the rise of BYOD.

The reality is that many employees simply have no idea of the risks they may be taking when they use their personal devices to check or send emails…or share files and this is a regular occurrence for some people./

BYOD is changing the face of IT and employers need to catch up quickly.

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