New mobile working habits are forcing companies to be more flexible in allowing employees to use their own personal equipment. However, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is laying firms open to security risks and may well increase IT costs.

BYOD May Cost Companies Dear

BYOD is really catching on in the business world. According to an earlier Forrester Research report, 60% of all companies worldwide encourage their employees to work this way. However at the same time this approach may carry a high cost. A new survey carried out among IT professionals in London by Lieberman Software, a Los Angeles-based company specialising in security management solutions, found that 67% of those surveyed believe that using smartphones, iPads and other personal devices will increase a company’s IT and security costs.

Data security the central issue

Many companies believe that BYOD makes them vulnerable to security risks, with 43% of respondents admitting to worries about employee devices introducing viruses into the organisation, while 26% cited the danger of staff losing a personal device with company data on it and 22% said their biggest concern was employees stealing data.While it is highly convenient for staff to use personal devices with which they are completely familiar, “the ability to adopt and sustain enterprise access controls in these devices is non-existent or impaired,” warns Philip Lieberman, President and CEO of Lieberman Software.

A management framework for keeping control

It seems that, in an effort to respond to the demand for BYOD, companies are at the present time being forced to lower their security barriers. Lieberman stresses that company IT management need to understand just what it is they are authorising - and above all what they are exposing their organisations to - when they allow employees to use devices over which they do not have complete control. This does not mean companies should try to buck the trend, but they should make sure that mobile working and mobile devices have a central place in their IT development strategy. Therefore the key to mastering this trend towards BYOD would appear to lie in proper IT infrastructure management.