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BYOD in today’s workplace

The bring-your-own-device trend comes with benefits and security issues for small businesses.

The bring-your-own-device trend comes with benefits and security issues for small businesses.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend has been sweeping workplaces across the country in the last year. Many companies see it as an opportunity to reduce hardware costs and allow employees to work remotely from home or on the road. This can be a good thing, but like the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad.

That's why it is imperative that businesses take the right approach to BYOD, so they can enjoy its benefits without turning the practice into a vulnerability. IT support firms are constantly helping companies develop strategies to maximize productivity while reducing risk.

For example, authenticating and authorizing devices is something far too few organizations are making standard practice. Regardless of whether dealing with an enterprise-level entity or the smallest of startups, sensitive data is sensitive data – plain and simple. Allowing employees to use their own tablets or smartphones for work-related tasks is fine, but carte blanche should never be given.

The best IT support companies will tell you that personal devices should be examined to make sure that they can meet necessary security requirements. Since most personal electronics are built with consumer convenience in mind, it should never just be assumed that they are inherently safe for business use. Device settings can be modified and additional security software may be able to be loaded onto the machine to help with this.

System and database restrictions can also be configured on a company's internal network so that only certain users can access sensitive data. Perhaps a particular employee's smartphone is appropriate for certain tasks, but parameters need to be set based on its security capabilities that determine what can and cannot be accessed through that device.

If companies set clear guidelines with employees and take appropriate precautions to protect IT assets, BYOD can improve productivity without the practice becoming a liability.