As a result of increased remote working, the number of personal devices accessing corporate networks grew 20% in 2020 alone. And this is only likely to increase. While connectivity is becoming easier, what about its impact on security? Here Ginelle Bell, UK country manager at business phone system provider Ringover, gives her advice on the bring your own device (BYOD) landscape and what the new normal of business communications looks like today.
A 2021 survey by XpertHR revealed that 97% of organisations are implementing or planning to implement hybrid working post-pandemic. This is no surprise considering the recent reintroduction of working from home (WFH) guidelines in the UK. In response, businesses must consider how they can adapt and prepare for further changes. This means ensuring flexibility, without compromising security.
What is BYOD?
BYOD is a business model that enables employees to work from their personal devices by connecting their tablets, laptops and smartphones to a company network. It’s proven a popular option for small and medium enterprises looking to save on the upfront cost of buying company devices and the associated maintenance expenditure.
However, the need for remote working has now extended BYOD’s appeal to larger organisations. For example, technology company Intel, one of the first large organisations to implement BYOD, reported 5 million hours of productivity gains in its first year of using the method.
Allowing employees to carry out work from their personal devices provides them with greater flexibility and mobility, and even increased productivity. In fact, according to research from Frost & Sullivan, as reported by Samsung Insights, employees working from their own mobile devices can be up to 34% more productive than those who don’t. This is often because employees are already proficient users of their own devices, saving set up time and initial familiarisation.
While the benefits of BYOD cannot be ignored, its security remains a top concern. Threats from BYOD include cyber hacking, data leaks, as well as the increased risk that personal devices may become lost or stolen, exposing sensitive company data.
Securing the new normal
Now, as remote and hybrid working become solidified into many company set-ups, businesses looking to implement BYOD must thoroughly address its security concerns.
Taking in to account the flexibility between remote and in-office working, and the uncertainty of when life will return to ‘normal’, businesses need to invest in software that helps their employees communicate effectively and securely. Opting for a cloud-based software as a service will be key for secure collaboration and communications management. It is the simplest way to outsource risk and compliance, while ensuring every employee is supported and has secure access on any device.
For example, Ringover’s business cloud communications application can be installed on any personal or company owned device, to enable seamless call handling and performance. It gives employees the greatest possible degree of flexibility when communicating externally.
Furthermore, as calls are transmitted via an internet connection, it provides businesses with peace of mind as they don’t need to be concerned with how calls will be routed, or where data is stored. This is because Ringover’s data is stored on GDPR-compliant data centres located across Europe. Ringover also holds certificates to ensure data is secure and encrypted. This helps to prevent data breaches and security threats, as well as outsourcing regulatory compliance by ensuring registration with appropriate bodies such as the Office of Communications (OFCOM).
As BYOD continues to grow in popularity, its security becomes more difficult to monitor. However, selecting a cloud communications tool that ensures data is secured and encrypted allows businesses to reap the greater flexibility and productivity of this business model while reducing potential security threats.
The author is Ginelle Bell, UK country manager at business phone system provider Ringover.
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