They call it ‘B.Y.O.D’ or ‘Bring Your Own Device’.

They might as well call it ‘Bring Your Own Drama’.

Because organisations that let employees use their own phones and tablets for business purposes are increasingly becoming exposed to some serious risk.

Nearly three quarters of the businesses who took part in a recent Rapid 7 survey said mobile devices had led to an increase in security incidents. And just over half the organisations said they’d experienced data loss from employee use of unsecured mobile devices.

Why is this happening?

Part of the problem is because the opportunities and convenience offered by new technologies is irresistible. But businesses try to grab these without thinking of the consequences.

Consider the modern sales executive at a busy media company. They’re in and out of the office, meeting clients, giving presentations. Sometimes working from home, sometimes working out of head office, sometimes at the local base. Rarely at their own desk and the creaking IT infrastructure of the organisation means when they are, it often takes 15 minutes just to log on to their machine.

That’s no use these days.

So they use their mobile phone and iPad and do everything from there. Most of it is checking emails or running through a presentation. It’s quick, it’s portable and it’s extremely high risk.

Because who knows what could be lurking on those machines? Viruses and malware can wreak havoc with the business network and quickly wipe out any perceived ‘cost savings’.

Ever had those direct messages on Twitter from a friend who ‘can’t believe what you’re doing in that video’? Or clicked a link to download a piece of free software which turned out not to be quite what you’re expecting?

And what about when our sales exec leaves their phone or tablet in the back of a taxi? Or in the toilets at a nightclub? They’re mixing business and personal without a thought and let’s hope they’re using password protection.

That device they carry around everywhere contains a huge amount of data that really shouldn’t leave the office. In fact there are probably laws that say it mustn’t.

So how can a business enjoy the savings and benefits promised by new mobile technology, without the risks?

This is where the cloud comes to the rescue. Products like Hosted Desktop allow staff – no matter where they are – to use their own laptops, phones and tablets for business purposes without the risk of viruses and malware corrupting files. And additional layers of security such as Two Factor Authentication mean even if the sales executive doesn’t have a password protected lock screen on their iPad, anyone who picks it up would need to enter an additional code before being able to access any files.

Businesses are absolutely right to use new technology to help employees work smarter. It makes perfect sense to be able to check work emails from your own phone while sitting on the train. But don’t do it in a way that places everyone at risk.

Look beyond the fatal attraction of ‘Bring Your Own Device’. Look to the cloud.

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