Mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones offer convenience and increased productivity, but they can be costly … in more ways than one.

Most small- and medium-business executives can’t afford the financial costs associated with providing employees with mobile devices. The executives of some large enterprises don’t want to spend a lot of money on furnishing their employees with mobile devices. So, increasingly, business leaders are adopting bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Of course, there’s more to adopting a BYOD policy than sending a mass email to employees announcing that it’s now okay for them to use their personal laptops, tablets or smartphones for work.

The security risks involved with BYOD are myriad. That’s why it’s a good idea to consult with managed IT services providers like ours to discuss ways to establish – and enforce – strict policies that can minimize risk and implement technology solutions to keep employees as honest as possible.

Because people use file sharing websites like Dropbox and in their personal lives, Ryan Kalember, chief product officer of WatchDox recommends providing employees with a company file sharing network that operates in a similar fashion.

“You must give your employees tools that mimic the interfaces with which they are familiar and give you the visibility to maintain security,” says Kalember.

The safety and security of company documents and information are paramount, so a policy that addresses these concerns directly is a must. For example, all files with important company or client information should be encrypted and/or password protected. By doing this, even if an employee’s mobile device got lost or stolen, the information could remain secure.

Some company leaders have their IT departments install remote wiping capabilities on their employees’ mobile devices. The problem with that is if an employee should quit or get fired, the IT department could not only delete all company data from the employee’s device but also the employee’s personal data. Because some companies have to comply with payment card industry (PCI) or Sarbanes-Oxley standards, if an employee’s personal mobile device gets lost or stolen, the company has the right to completely wipe the employee’s mobile device, even if that means deleting the employee’s personal data, too.

One way to minimize risk is by protecting the data itself. Besides encrypting or password protecting company data, executives can limit who has access to what files and have IT develop a program that requires employees to get permission before gaining access to and/or downloading certain sensitive files.

The importance of training can never be overstated. Just password protecting a mobile device can delay access long enough for IT to wipe it. Getting employees in the habit of putting mobile devices away when they’re not in use is also helpful.

Business leaders don’t have to sacrifice the safety and security of company data when they adopt BYOD policies. There are ways to simultaneously keep important company and client information safe and employees happy and productive.

Wondering if you should allow your staff to bring in their own cell phones and tablet computers? Speak with us first about how to secure these devices and what the best plan would be. Call today to book your appointment.