What BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?

Bring your own device, or BYOD, is the evolving trend of employees using their personal devices for work purposes. Companies that use BYOD policies allow people to use their own laptops, smartphones, and tablets for work-related purposes, rather than strictly requiring the use of devices that are owned by the company and managed by IT..

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How does BYOD work?

BYOD represents an opportunity between employees and employers. Typically, an organization will develop a BYOD policy that addresses security concerns, the types of allowable devices and other important considerations. Employees should read and understand their employer's policy before agreeing to it.

In some cases, the employer may require employees to install specific applications on their devices. The company may also install security measures on devices used to access sensitive company data. For example, some organizations require software that wipes corporate data if it detects potential tampering.

Company stakeholders should understand that some employees may not want to participate in a BYOD program, especially if the mobile device management (MDM) policy requires that certain apps be blacklisted. It’s also common for policies to give employers remote access to their employees' devices. Employees may prefer a more distinct break between their office and home lives. In that case, they may prefer to have one device for work and another for personal use.

Why is BYOD important?

The benefits of BYOD are many: It can make for a better user experience, empowering employees to work and collaborate the way they prefer, with the freedom to use devices that are familiar to them. Companies that leverage application virtualization benefit from increased security and management options. For example, an employer could host a proprietary application in a cloud, and employees can access it on their personal device. Similarly, desktop virtualization allows users to access an isolated logical operating system instance without actually installing anything on their personal computer.

Companies will likely need to implement a BYOD policy, even if they provide employees with a second device. Inevitably, employees will use their personal devices to access company data, even if it’s against policy, which means it’s critical to have device security options in place to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities.

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What are the potential BYOD risks?

Any employee-owned devices that are not sanctioned by the employer are known as shadow IT, and these pose a security threat to the organization. Devices not visible to stakeholders cannot be monitored or protected from malware and other security risks. Therefore, a strong device policy will identify which personal devices may be used for work as well as when employees should rely on company-owned assets.

Another risk of BYOD is the fact that employees will bring their devices with them everywhere. While it's unlikely people will carry their work laptop with them on a night out, they will definitely bring their personal smartphone. This increases the risk that a device with company data could be lost or stolen.

All of these concerns can be prevented and planned for, but it requires the employer to take precautionary steps ahead of time. Corporate policy should outline contingency plans for reducing risk and reacting to data breaches as they occur. Making it clear to employees what their responsibilities are will help them understand how to leverage their personal devices for business purposes.

BYOD policy is best implemented when company stakeholders understand the pain points they’re addressing. Stakeholders should build a security policy around the problem, then work with employees to implement the solution in a mutually beneficial manner.

Citrix solutions for BYOD security

Citrix helps customers embrace BYOD through a simple, secure approach based on leading security solutions. With Citrix, organizations can allow employees to access all of their apps and data on any device while allowing IT departments to maintain full visibility and control.

These solutions empower employees to work and collaborate the way they prefer, with complete freedom to use any PC, laptop, or mobile device they choose—all while allowing organizations to protect sensitive data from loss and theft, and to keep personal data private.

Learn how you can securely support BYOD with Citrix Endpoint Management