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4 Things to Consider Before Jumping Into BYOD

You’ve read it time and time again. “Bring Your Own Device” isn’t a trend, it’s the future. Workplaces, where companies let workers use their own devices for work purposes, are the new normal. What Is Bring Your Own Device BYOD Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) refers to the idea that employees should be allowed to use their personal devices to access company information. The main advantage of this approach is that it makes sure that the employee will always have his/her data available, even when he/she isn’t using the office computer. There are a few reasons why companies are beginning to allow this type of policy. First, many workers are already bringing their own laptops and smartphones to work. If employers don’t want them to do so, then they could simply ban these items from being brought into the workplace. Another benefit is that BYOD allows businesses to save money. Employees who bring their own technology usually won’t need IT support, and they’ll also avoid buying equipment for the business. However, there are some drawbacks to allowing this kind of policy. For example, it can make the job of the security team more difficult. This is because people may be accessing sensitive data that the employer would like to keep private. BYOD attracts new hires and lifts employee morale and productivity. But this doesn’t mean a small business owner should recklessly jump right into BYOD just because everyone else is doing it. There are a few drawbacks to bringing your phone into the office which you need to be aware of. BYOD Security The first issue relates to security. If you’re not careful then you could end up putting your entire business at risk. Data and network security concerns have to be thought out, defined, and addressed in a comprehensive BYOD policy. You need to make sure you take the time to educate your employees about it. When talking about IT security, employees are often the weakest link in a company. It’s important they know what they can and cannot do on their personal devices, why it matters, and what happens if the policy is broken. By implementing a BYOD policy, you can help protect against data breaches and cybersecurity threats. BYOD Cost of Support Most businesses salivate at the thought of the money saved by having employees participate in a BYOD program. With employees using their own devices for work, there is no need to shell out thousands of dollars for desktop PCs, smartphones, tablets, and laptops. While that’s undoubtedly a huge incentive, extra support costs must also be factored in. Chances are your employees aren’t necessarily tech savvy and will need help deploying applications and performing basic yet very necessary maintenance techniques. Unless you have a dedicated IT support team, which most SMBs do not have, you will need to turn to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) in your region for support. A MSP can provide specialized expertise and leverage Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools to keep your network infrastructure and business applications monitored, secured and fully optimized. Limited Number of Support Devices Obviously, you can’t accommodate EVERY employee-owned device. Limiting the types of devices accepted in your BYOD program will mitigate any need to pay for software or equipment upgrades for outdated devices and keep your infrastructure safer as a whole. It’s important to not be too exclusive, select a broad range of devices and their more recent releases to accommodate the varied preferences/tastes of your employees. BYOD Legal Risks Adopting BYOD at your workplaces will expose your company to more legal risks. Sensitive business or private client/customer data can potentially be exposed if devices are lost or stolen. The personal online habits of your employees can also increase your network’s vulnerability to viruses, phishing, or hacking schemes designed to steal such data. These increased legal risks are another reason why SMBs must take precautions such as working with an MSP that offers a solid MDM solution to ensure all employee devices are configured, deployed, managed and monitored in a manner that prioritizes data integrity and security. Ready to implement BYOD for your business? Contact us today for a free evaluation and see how Pennyrile Technologies can help your business today.

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Mobile Device Management

A Smarter Approach to Mobile Device Management

Mobile device management has become even more important now that more people today use personal mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for business purposes. Such devices, coupled with greater Wi-Fi accessibility and cloud services, have empowered us with the ability to access data and do business from practically anywhere at anytime. Needless to say, many small-to-medium sized business owners have embraced the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) revolution. The benefits are obvious; increased employee productivity, enhanced services to customers/clients, and better overall customer and employee satisfaction. But what about the potential consequences associated with this mobility revolution? Are small business owners doing enough preemptive planning to address potential risks that could arise with the use of BYOD devices? Are they using mobile device management to help secure the devices and their IT infrastructure? What is BYOD? BYOD (bring your own device) in IT terms, refers to a policy that allows employees use personal devices to connect to companies network, access business applications, and company data. Personal devices may include smartphones, tablets, or personal computers. An estimated 59% of businesses have a BYOD policy in place and this number is increasing every year. What is Mobile Device Management? Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a type of security software used by IT departments to monitor, manage, and secure employees’ mobile devices—such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops that are deployed across multiple mobile service providers and across multiple mobile operating systems being used in the organization. It can be used to monitor hardware, remotely wipe devices that have been lost, and ensuring security standards are met before allowing the device access to sensitive company data to name just a few uses. Think of it like a digital toolbox for companies to keep all their employees’ smartphones, tablets, and laptops safe, up-to-date, and working correctly. What are some of the Features of Mobile Device Management? Device Configuration Management: Allows administrators to configure settings and policies on mobile devices, such as Wi-Fi settings, email accounts, and VPN configurations. Application Management: Enables the installation, updating, and removal of apps on mobile devices. This can include managing enterprise apps and ensuring that only approved apps are installed. Security Management: Provides security features such as enforcing password policies, encrypting data, remotely locking or wiping devices, and managing compliance with security policies. Device Tracking and Inventory: Helps in tracking the location of devices, keeping an inventory of devices, and ensuring that all devices are accounted for. Content Management: Manages access to corporate content on mobile devices, ensuring that sensitive data is properly secured and accessible only to authorized users. Compliance and Monitoring: Monitors devices to ensure they comply with organizational policies and provides reports and alerts for non-compliance or potential security threats. Support and Troubleshooting: Offers tools for remote troubleshooting and support, helping IT departments address issues on mobile devices without needing physical access to them. Mobile Device Management – Questions Every SMB Should Ask First, it is important that small business owners honestly assess whether their systems, networks, data, and overall infrastructure are ready for the use of an array of mobile devices. Once it is firmly established that both internal IT and components in the cloud are prepared for BYOD, solutions should then be put into practice that are concurrent with terms of use policies or any guidelines pertaining to remote and/or telecommute workers or the sharing of sensitive data. The following questions should be answered. What particular devices or applications are permissible for work use? Assuming security requirements are in place, not every device or application will meet those. Will anyone in the company be tasked with the daily management of BYOB strategies? What should BYOD policies cover and what kind of management solutions will be needed? Would a mobile device management tool that collects device information, deploys and monitors usage, and offers insight into compliance be helpful? Which costs will be the responsibility of the employee? This pertains to any fees associated with usage – from network plans to the device itself to software, accessories, and maintenance costs. What data will be accessible? Will data encryption be necessary for certain information traveling through the personal devices of employees? Which employees will have read, write, update/delete privileges? What is the process when handling sensitive data stored on lost or stolen devices, or the personal devices of ex-employees? Does the company or organization have the right to wipe out the entire device or just corporate data and apps? Mobile Device Management Conclusion BYOD is here to stay as it affords smaller-sized companies the mobility of a corporate giant without a huge investment. But when it comes to ensuring that devices, applications, and networks are safe from the variety of threats linked to greater mobility, small business owners may find it necessary to enlist the help of a managed service provider to adequately take on and implement mobile device management for their networks and the challenges that arise with it. MDM solutions are essential for organizations that support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, as well as for those that provide company-owned devices to employees. By centralizing the management of mobile devices, organizations can ensure better security, compliance, and productivity while reducing the risks associated with mobile device usage. If you need assistance implementing BYOD or mobile device management for your business, contact Pennyrile Technologies today.

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Seven Must Haves For Your Website

4 Essential Pieces to Any Small Business BYOD Strategy

Believe it or not, once upon a time, kids at the bus stop didn’t have cell phones and the mobile device strategy of many businesses was typically, “you’ll take what you’re given, refrain from using it for any personal use, and the data may be scrubbed clean whenever we please.” We’ve come a long way.  Today, businesses really have no choice but to let employees use personal devices for work purposes.  Blurred lines now make it difficult to differentiate between what is professional and what is personal.  A company or organization may partially pay for an employee’s tablet computer or smartphone, but that same device is used to upload photos to Facebook or download torrents of this season of Game of Thrones. Naturally, security and privacy issues are a concern since these devices sync to the company network.  Larger corporations may be able to hire IT support or produce sophisticated BYOD guidelines for employees to adhere to, but smaller businesses have limited resources. In fact, recent surveys suggest that the small business sector is doing very little to preemptively prepare for potential network security risks that could arise with the use of BYOD devices.  This could prove to be disastrous. The practical reality is that employees are going to use their mobile devices for personal use.  However, too many firms have overlooked what this means for their data security. Implementing a comprehensive BYOD policy right now, rather than when it’s too late, is important.  We’ve compiled a list of four items that any business currently building a BYOD strategy must consider. It must clearly be outlined what specific devices are permitted for work use. The company/organization must have the ability to remotely delete company-sensitive data from mobile devices without the device owner’s permission.  Remote deletion capabilities are much more refined these days; simplifying the removal of enterprise-related data from devices while leaving other content like personal photos, contacts, apps and music downloads intact. Written policies should be put into effect that correspond with terms of use policies and any guidelines pertaining to remote/telecommuting workers or the sharing of sensitive data.   There should be clearly defined consequences for violating any or all policies. Employee privacy should be discussed within the BYOD policy since employees often use these devices to check personal email, browse or post to Facebook and Twitter feeds, instant message, and store personal documents, photos, music and movie downloads.   Employees must understand that employers still have access to the content stored on these devices.  Location tracking, which gives employers the ability to locate employees, is also something to discuss since many people don’t necessarily welcome that kind of surveillance. It is understandable that BYOD and more mobile employees have some small business owners feeling anxious and nervous.  But mobile management tools, periodic conversation, security checks, and research will do wonders when it comes to keeping small businesses safe. Use our contact form to see how Pennyrile Technologies can help your business today.

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