The kitchen kegerators, game rooms, and premium gym equipment that once lured fresh talent are now collecting dust in a world that’s turned to hybrid work. Instead of seeking out the flashiest offices and perks, job seekers are looking for practical benefits to help them work more comfortably and productively from wherever they call their workspace.
ITs Opportunity to Enable Smarter Work
In this regard, IT has one of the most significant opportunities to aid recruitment and support a more productive workplace — instituting (or strengthening) a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.
While the benefits are transparent, securing networks that allow employees to use personal devices is easier said than done. In addition, since the pandemic shifted the way we work, there’s been a strain on IT departments with BYOD policies that don’t scale for the modern workforce.
With dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of additional new devices accessing their networks — cyberattacks are growing more numerous and sophisticated by the day.
IT professionals need a reset in how they secure and manage BYOD and how we think about the devices accessing our enterprise networks.
The BYOD Security “Seesaw”
IT security is often a balancing act. Professionals measure the risks and rewards of a strategy. Too much security and your IT team can hinder employees and how they work; too little security can result in company data being exploited by both internal and external threats.
The Security Teams Playbook
Security teams often develop playbooks, conduct tabletop exercises and engage with peer communities to exchange best practices on cybersecurity before making decisions or changes to their programs.
Teams need to have a solid understanding of what they’re trying to secure, and BYOD is no different.
Allowing employees to use their own devices can leave IT teams feeling like they’re on a playground seesaw, with concrete recruitment and employee satisfaction and retention benefits on one side but an ever-changing, complex network of devices to secure on the other.
Meeting in the middle, with policies that address both sides of this equation, is key to success.
The BYOD Double-Edged Security Sword
BYOD has been increasing exponentially as mobile devices have gotten smarter, and the market is expected to top $150 billion by 2027. But this remarkable growth of employee-owned technology inside enterprise networks is a double-edged security sword.
As employees share documents, collaborate on financials, and access large data sets, hackers wait to catch the unprepared by surprise. Data breaches, networks held for ransom, and embarrassing headlines are all consequences of a poorly constructed or protected network of BYOD devices.
Great Benefits to Companies for BYOD
On the other end of the seesaw are the BYOD benefits. Employees pay upwards of $1,000 on average for their own devices — and research shows companies see $350 in value for every mobile employee.
Companies that can implement, maintain and grow the best secure BYOD policy will have an immediate edge in attracting talent and keeping current employees happy.
Considerations for a Successful BYOD Balance
In a competitive job market that favors the job seeker, perks that make remote work more comfortable and productive give you the edge.
No matter what, your policies were pre-pandemic thought; taking the time to reconsider your BYOD policies and procedures is good practice, with hybrid work becoming the norm.
Ask yourself these questions to get started.
Is security multi-layered?
The universe of devices accessing your network in BYOD is larger and more diverse than with company-issued technology. This means enterprise security must be redundant and adaptable. Multiple layers of control, identity, and defenses are a must for businesses — simply offering employees VPN access isn’t enough anymore.
Can you remotely wipe company data from employees’ personal devices while preserving their personal information? Can you confidently account for every device, whether personal or company-owned, that has sensitive company information stored on it?
Is it possible to remotely manage BYOD devices, the same as you would a corporate-owned device, during security emergencies – while still preserving privacy? If answering these questions is difficult, your security technologies may be lacking.
Are you aware of security trends?
It seems like every day, there is a new security vulnerability related to the technology we rely on to do business. But our personal devices present even more opportunities for bad actors to strike.
Employers don’t have total control over the apps employees download. Nor do they have control over the access those apps have to other data or opportunities to vet the legitimacy of those apps’ creators.
Staying on top of the latest trendy social and consumer apps — and the potential vulnerabilities they might present for enterprise data — is an essential part of keeping BYOD environments secure.
Is BYOD built into the culture?
If you have an established BYOD policy, how is it viewed and communicated within the organization? First, BYOD policies should be transparent, clear, and offer options to employees. Your employees should see BYOD as a way to personalize their work style and design their work experience to be as productive as possible, both in the office and while remote.
Prospects will also appreciate a culture that invests in making BYOD work at scale. Overall, the goal of BYOD should be to make employees feel like they have a gateway to better work, not a wall that slows productivity.
Do employees know your policies?
Having a transparent BYOD policy is critical, but informing employees about that policy is the other half of the battle. Ensure you’re regularly updating employees on any changes to policy or modifications to best practices.
Additionally, be transparent about exactly what kind of access you will have to their personal information if they use their own device — your goal should be to design a system that allows employees to preserve as much privacy as possible.
Finally, find a way to gather feedback. Make sure your policies work for your company’s culture, so they are seen as a source of enablement instead of a roadblock.
Are IT, HR, and Marketing talking?
Publicizing the benefits and features of BYOD requires stakeholders from multiple departments. Is HR, for example, equipped to answer more technical questions about the policy? Should a candidate bring it up in an interview?
Are marketing materials handed out at job fairs clear on this perk? It’s a joint effort to get candidates to realize the benefits of BYOD.
Our personal devices become as unique as we are. Therefore, we should strive to implement BYOD policies that allow employees to adapt these devices to their individual workstyles as well.
While these policies can require extra vigilance and business alignment to implement and secure, maintaining a top-tier BYOD program can showcase that your company has a modern outlook on remote work.
These types of BYOD policies help attract the best talent and ultimately keep your employees happy and secure while on their mobile devices.
Image Credit: ANTONI SHKRABA; Pexels; Thank you
Editor In Chief at ReadWrite
Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.