BYOD policies – how important are they?

Businesses should ensure they are implementing bring your own device policies [Image: PeopleImages via iStock]

When it comes to bring your own device (BYOD), what is your business’ policy? It’s essential that you have one and that your employees know exactly what it is before they start using their own phones, tablets and other devices to access sensitive work information.

This is not something that all organisations have been adhering to, however. It has been revealed that half of councils in London do not have a BYOD policy in place, potentially leaving data at risk.

The figures were compiled by Ricoh UK, which obtained the information from a Freedom of Information request. A total of 18 councils responded to the request and it was found that nine have no BYOD policy set up within the organisation. These were Lambeth, Hounslow, Kingston, Ealing, Hackney, Brent, City of London, Richmond and Bexley.

Ricoh UK found that the remaining nine councils that said they had schemes in place saw significant differences in the numbers of devices connecting to their networks. Top of the list was Camden Council, with 423 devices, with Waltham Forest following on 331. Tower Hamlets said 307 devices were connected, while Islington reported 190.

Some councils released figures showing much lower volumes of users, with Havering listing just 16 devices, Hillingdon, Newham and Southwark reporting ten and Royal Greenwich five.

Chas Moloney, director of Ricoh UK said: “BYOD schemes allow employees to operate on personal devices of their choice, improving flexibility and inspiring workstyle innovation. This is already happening in many businesses and should be encouraged in local government as part of a wider digital transformation strategy.

“It’s time for London Councils to assess and consider implementing BYOD policies to help deliver stronger and more effective public services.”

This is a message that’s relevant to a huge number of businesses across the country.

Companies possess a great deal of sensitive information, which, if accessed by the wrong people, can result in a real problem. Illustrating this is the fact a recent hack on a South Korean-based Bitcoin exchange is being blamed on a employees using their own devices for work.

The rise in remote working goes hand in hand with employees accessing their companies’ information on their own devices in their own homes. And if these devices aren’t secured and properly managed, they are at risk of real problems.

Cyber attacks are growing in number and if the UK government is susceptible, so is your business. Ensuring that you have the right security measures in place will help you avoid becoming a target through the improper use of employee devices – whether intentional or not.

Drafting a fully realised BYOD policy and ensuring your employees adhere to it is the first step in protecting your business. Incorporating the right mobile device management tools is also vital.

When information can so easily be accessed by those who should not be seeing it, your organisation needs all the help it can get.