Is BYOA Your Company’s Best Friend or Worst Enemy?
Along with bringing their own devices to work, employees are now jumping on the bring-your-own-app (BYOA) trend. IDC notes that while BYOA has increased employee productivity by streamlining workflows and enhancing real-time collaboration, it also introduces dangers, such as exposure to new risks from unvetted applications and lack of insight into how a new technology can affect underlying policies and network architecture.
Are Some Apps Riskier Than Others?
While some types of third-party apps don’t typically cause problems, TechTarget warns that IT departments should be wary of file synchronization, file sharing and collaboration applications that employees may bring to work.
Employees using mobile apps come into the enterprise with certain expectations based on how they use their devices and applications for their personal productivity, and they rely on the enterprise to deliver that same high level of experience. Richard Absalom, an analyst with Ovum’s consumerization practice, advises companies to provision secure versions of these file synchronization and file-sharing applications, according to TechTarget.
Security Concerns Drive BYOA Strategy
When it comes to security, the primary concern is that a company’s private data is no longer secured by their internal IT department. When an employee uses Dropbox to take a file home, not only is data flowing in and out of the organization without any oversight, but the company is also left vulnerable to a security breach.
If an employee loses a laptop, IT can remotely wipe the hard drive to protect sensitive data. But if Google Docs experiences a data breach, what can be done to protect private documents an employee might be storing there without the company’s knowledge?
What Can Be Done to Protect Private Data?
To address these concerns, many organizations have established acceptable-use policies for third-party software, TechTarget reports. Other companies are turning to third-party services to rethink and transform core technologies, skill sets and business processes in an effort to effectively transition to a mobile enterprise.
The infrastructure supporting mobility contains many components that organizations need to protect and manage, whether networking, security, device management, application management or expense management. All of these elements need to be planned for, integrated and optimized so that the enterprise and its workforce can take advantage of new mobile opportunities.
Obviously, employees are going to want to bring the mobile devices and apps they love to the workplace. Most, if not all, are likely unaware of the security risks their favorite applications can pose to their organization. Determining strategies to handle third-party apps in your workplace with a formal BYOA policy is integral to stepping smoothly into the future.