Last updated: 19.07.13

Firms 'must train employees in BYOD risks'

Companies that implement a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy need to ensure their employees are adequately trained in the privacy risks involved.

According to a new study from Acronis and the Ponemon Institute, which involved surveying more than 4,300 IT professionals in eight different countries, there are a still a number of firms struggling with the security concerns associated with BYOD.

The 2013 Data Protection Trends Research showed that despite the increasing number of people across the globe who are bringing their iPhones, Android-powered mobiles and other devices into the workplace, around 60 per cent of businesses do not have a BYOD policy in place.

What's more, one-third of organisations questioned strictly forbid the use of personal gadgets in the office, which means their staff could be missing out on key mobile learning opportunities and flexibility.

Accessing a company's resources from smartphones and tablets can have many benefits for workers, but in order for this to be done as safely as possible it is imperative firms deliver training on security risks and the programs they are permitted to access, as well as the ones they are forbidden to use.

If this is not conveyed to staff, bosses could find the role of BYOD becomes misplaced. They should ensure employees do not use digital tools and public cloud services that are designed for consumer use and are therefore unsuitable for a working environment.

The Acronis and Ponemon Institute research claimed restricting personal device use and avoiding training is no longer an option, adding: "The only way companies can make a successful transition to the BYOD era is to meet it head on."

When used properly, BYOD can be extremely advantageous for a firm, as it slashes administrative costs, hands power over to employees and boosts staff morale.

It was recently suggested by Mark Pearce, director of channels and alliances for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Enterasys, that schools should also be embracing the BYOD trend and moving away from more traditional methods of teaching.