BYOD: it stands for “bring your own device,” and it is revolutionizing the way people use technology in the workplace.

Right now, North America has the highest BYOD adoption rates in the world, at 36%. Analysts expect that to grow to 50% by the end of 2017.

While BYOD culture has many benefits, including increased productivity, accountability, and morale in the workplace, BYOD security is hard to manage. More personal devices in the workplace naturally open networks up to a whole host of data safety concerns and complications.

Luckily, understanding these difficulties is the first step to addressing them.

5 BYOD Security Concerns Modern Workplaces Face

BYOD adoption has been growing steadily for some years now, but that doesn’t mean the glitches have all been worked out. Here are the top five BYOD security concerns facing┬átoday’s workplaces:

1. Sub-Par Communication

The benefit of having a work-issued network of devices is that it’s easier to set up a cross-device security policy and trust that users will stick to it. This becomes progressively more challenging, however, when workers start bringing personal devices, such as laptops and tablets, into the office.

Luckily, you can encourage better BYOD security by implementing a BYOD security policy and communicating it to all users. Employees should understand the responsibilities and rights of your office’s BYOD culture, and know what constitutes acceptable use of their devices. Be sure to update this policy as needed.

2. Security Breaches on Personal Devices

In the BYOD world, a lost or stolen phone or laptop could mean a major security breach for the company. In fact, more than 60% of all network breaches result from lost or stolen devices.

To cut the risk in your business, require that all personal devices adopt fingerprint recognition passcodes or keycodes to protect them from prying eyes. While this is a simple step to implement, it can go a long way toward discouraging damaging breaches.

3. Interception of Data on Public Wi-Fi

Imagine this: an employee takes his or her laptop, which they also use for work, to a public coffee shop and starts firing off work emails. Unfortunately, the network isn’t secure, and someone intercepts the data as the employee works. What happens then?

While public Wi-Fi is convenient, it’s a security breach waiting to happen. With this in mind, employees who use their devices both inside and outside the workplace should connect to a company VPN or private Wi-Fi connection whenever possible. Some companies may also choose to deploy unique security solutions for BYOD users, which offers an additional layer of security.

4. Data Transfer Security Threats

On a personal device, all data – including email, text messages, and photos – is vulnerable to a breach. As such, encryption is vital in the BYOD workplace and beyond.

Simple things like PIN codes and passwords automatically enable data encryption on iPhones, while mobile content management systems can be installed to allow users to keep information private and away from prying eyes.

5. Malicious Software

While there’s no way a Boeing employee would be allowed to download apps on a company-issued phone, people download all sorts of programs and applications for their devices. Unfortunately, this can put the security of company information at risk.

As such, it’s critical that anyone in the BYOD world avoid jailbreaking or rooting apps, since these hack the device’s security features and put it at risk for further breaches.

Better BYOD Security Starts Here

While the BYOD trend is growing, the security risks don’t have to grow alongside it. With some careful consideration and proactivity, it’s easy to ensure your company’s BYOD culture remains safe and secure, both now and in the future.

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