What is BYOD?
BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. In terms of business telecommunications, it would involve end-users using their own SIP clients--hard phones and/or softphones--to connect to their service provider. In contrast, many service providers can provide devices to use with their service which have been preconfigured to work out of the box.
BYOD Plan Considerations and Concerns
Although rising in popularity, not every employee looks favourably upon BYOD plans. Largely, younger generations advocate this trend, preferring to merge their personal and professional lives in order to work freer schedules. Especially with VoIP, which enables users to route smartphones/tablets and install native apps, many businesses see BYOD plans as an advantage. While in many ways it is, businesses must settle a few security matters before jumping into a policy.
Monitoring Employees under a BYOD Plan
BYOD plans create an array of privacy complications—and not just for users. While tracking devices may seem like an invasion of rights, a professional device contains oodles of sensitive data. Therefore, a policy must determine a way for businesses to monitor employee devices to mitigate threats and vulnerabilities. For instance, a virus can infect other devices while unsecured phones can open holes in the firewall. Dozens of unregulated devices in one environment pose too many variables to maintain a stable system.
Before implementing a BYOD policy, businesses should gauge their IT skills on various platforms—OSX, Android and PC. Regulating foreign devices would prove difficult otherwise. Similarly, corporate data should be contained within an approved application, one with strong authentication protocols. Doing so stops accidental leaks, allows external monitoring of activity and lets companies routinely wipe devices.
Interestingly, most BYOD plans fail to encrypt data, within a single app or not. A survey conducted by ESET reveals only one-third of employee devices use encryption, meaning the majority of phones, tablets and laptops carry data compromisingly. As much as overhead variables like data usage and productivity lead the pack of concerns employers face, the largest requirement for a BYOD should be security. Even if beneficial to the workface, a policy should never come into effect if the business cannot do so safely.