Are Employee Personal Electronic Devices Dangerous to Small Business Security?

Can my employees using their own endpoint devices endanger the cyber security of your business? ”

Good Morning:

A lot of small business owners are starting to allow this and the answer, of course, is YES, your business computer system will possibly be more vulnerable. In fact, how can it not be? But that doesn’t mean that it should never happen. So let’s cover a few things to help you can decide if it is safe for your small business.

Inside some businesses it will work fine.

This is a business decision that you need to make with thoughtful deliberation as well as valid information. What is good for some businesses will be dangerous for others. Some call it the BYOD transition and it opens up all kinds of potential small business security issues.

For one thing, you need to always check to make sure that your employee’s device has anti-virus protection. No exceptions. You simply must determine that it can handle any possible security concerns, especially if you have company network with company data installed on it. Consider all data to be sensitive and therefore a valid company security issue.

Keep in mind that this will involve regular software updates, and you will find it difficult to track this over a wide variety of devices.

Never, ever, consider not installing a Fail-Safe on your machines in case the device is lost or stolen. This will wipe the data from the device to prevent unauthorized use of your company material.

But it is possible that it might be appropriate to consider a BYOD policy for your office equipment. Under the right conditions, it can be a real bonus for your business.

QUESTIONS TO HELP DECIDE IF A NEW ENDPOINT DEVICES POLICY IS DANGEROUS TO CYBER-SECURITY.

Here are a few questions for you to go through in order to decide. I encourage you to get competent advice from a trusted source, from someone who really understands the issues involved. Your software provider could be one source. You don’t want to buy things you don’t need but it can be a real disaster to miss a bet here.

First of all, I would question if your employees are really tech-savy. Don’t just ask them but find out for sure. This can make the process easy but a miss here can spell nightmare. Also, will they have reliable equipment as well as understand how to update and maintain it from a security standpoint. The difference here will make the transition either easy or wildly chaotic.

Secondly, is how sensitive is your company data? Some companies would find one slip-up here to be catastrophic, while another will ease through it. If you have a medical, financial,or legal office, I would be very wary. Having a serious data breach here could lead to all kinds of problems and is too big a gamble. So think this through.

Thirdly, how many employees would be able to choose their own devices? If only a few employees are interested in this change in policy, the problems in it may not be worth the hassle. Remember that cyber security is the paramount concern. Not just happy employees (although that is of vital importance!).

Next would the question of how quickly is the business growing? If you are expanding quickly, the benefits might be huge. It could reduce your already serious technology costs a great deal. And new hires could have reduced work stations. This might also reduce on-site workers which will leave you increased office space.

The next question is one to ponder seriously and slowly. It depends a lot on what kind of office staff you have. If your people are serious about business and possess the business focus necessary, it might work out fine.

When you walk around the office, do you see a lot of surfing? Do they play games while working? If so, you know what will happen with their own devices. Your company data might have to compete for space with Donkey Kong.

I am just saying that if they have a hard time focusing on your business priorities, giving them access to their own devices might be counterproductive.

These are serious things to consider and get some good advice.

Thank you for coming.

Jim