It’s not smart to allow employees use their smartphones to access company data.

More than half — 53 percent — of surveyed global businesses have admitted they’re not ready to defend against attacks on their employees’ bring their own device (BYOD) devices. Nearly all say their devices might have been attacked, according to a 2014 study.

To make security matters worse, 55 percent aren’t doing anything to prepare for security attacks. The “2014 State of Security” study of global companies was conducted by a research firm,  ITIC, and a security awareness training firm, KnowBe4.

Sixty-five percent of businesses are now part of the BYOD trend in which employees bring their own handheld technology to use at work. They use their hardware on sensitive company-owned databases, e-mail, file services and wireless networks.

The pro arguments: Companies save money by not having to buy the devices for their employees. Employees like it because they get to decide what apps to use at work, and they get to use their devices to check their personal e-mail and social media.

By 2016, the typical mobile-device owner will surf the Web six times and download 14 times more megabytes as they did in 2011, according to a March 2012 study.

All of this means the BYOD trend raises serious questions:

1. Too much demand on a company’s wireless networks. Experts say such use by the additional handhelds threaten to place too much demand on wireless networks.

2. Privacy and are in doubt at many companies. Many businesses have privacy challenges complying with the payment card industry (PCI) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Enforcing PCI and HIPAA policies are more difficult with devices not owned by the company.

Consider this alarming HIPAA topic: Lesson about Passwords after Theft of 16,000+ UCLA Patient Records.

3. Security of personal devices connected to your enterprise network is questionable. That’s why many information security professionals derisively refer to BYOD as “bring your own disaster.” Many companies are joining the BYOD trend, but they’re forgetting about security.

Such fears were confirmed in an Onforce poll: “Businesses Allow More Personal Tech But Overlook Security.” The poll featured the opinions of more than 500 IT professionals. More than 50 percent of respondents say there’s been a 25 percent increase in setting up personal handhelds. Just 31 percent say they’ve been asked to implement security for the handhelds.

Staying on top of the dynamic changes – new types of technology – creates overwhelming pressure on IT professionals. It’s a hardship on the techs in workloads and expenses.

Further, Apple products are used most frequently as BYODs. But Apple devices aren’t nearly as secure as a myth indicates.

Given the massive cyber attacks on business, BYOD also creates unnecessary headaches.

From the Coach’s Corner, more security food for thought:

“When you link up to another computer, you’re linking up to every computer that that computer has ever linked up to.”

-Dennis Miller


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.