BYOD Bring your own device - IT security and intellectual property protection

BYOD Bring your own device - IT security and intellectual property protection

If the way that you took notes in school was with a pencil and paper, things have changed a lot since then. The newest trend in many schools is “Bring Your Own Device” BYOD, which means that students provide their own laptop, tablet or smartphone for use at school.

The BYOD trend is expanding to the business world as well. According to an article in PCWorld, allowing employees to bring their own technology with them to work has many benefits, such as lower operating costs, individual employee satisfaction with their chosen technology and incorporation of cutting-edge technology.

However, there are also some negatives to BYOD, specifically the impact on corporate IT security and intellectual property.

Corporate IT Security

When individuals bring their own device(s) to work, the IT department suddenly has little to no control over the technology being utilized or implemented. For example, computers issued by the company to employees usually come with some guidelines about use, as well as anti-virus and other IT security measures.

However, if employees bring in their own devices, there is no standard of security, no common element between devices and a concern about who does and who does not have security measures in place to block against viruses, hackers, malware and other potentially dangerous problems.

Intellectual Property

If an employee is using his or her own device for corporate use, there is also a serious question about data ownership. While companies can control the distribution of electronic devices to employees and then collect those devices when an employee leaves or is terminated, the same does not hold true for employee-owned devices.

The question then becomes who owns the data on that device and how do companies control and manage that data once the employee leaves. In correlation, there are issues about whether or not an IT department has the right to check each device for intellectual property and remove it as needed.

Considerations

Companies that are considering a BYOD policy should ask themselves several questions, such as why a BYOD policy is desired in the first place.

If the reason for a BYOD policy is to control costs, allow employees to make the choice, according to a recent online Forbes article. In addition, managers should approve BYOD policies in a department-by-department manner.

All employee-owned devices should be required to have anti-virus software installed per company policy and companies should also consider user agreement policies to help control the use of company-related data.

Companies considering a BYOD policy should do so carefully and slowly after thorough discussions with the IT department and legal or HR department about IT security and intellectual property.

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