Three problems arise when your employees can access sensitive company data on their own personal devices:
- Through device theft or loss, the data may become available to the public at large.
- Disgruntled employees or resentful former employees may purposely share company data to cause harm to your organization.
- Ignorance or simple neglect on the part of employees may create a situation where private data is exposed.
To keep company data private, forward-thinking companies have put bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies in place to defend against employees who use their own PCs and mobile devices (whether their IT departments support them or not) for business tasks. The BYOD policy can help control the usage of these non-corporate-sanctioned devices, also known as shadow IT, and mitigate its security risks.
Beyond protecting businesses against the release of private information, BYOD policies can deflect any bandwidth capacity issues that might result from the use of unsupported hardware and software on a company’s network. Similarly, BYOD policies protect companies against situations where network and software application protocols conflict, and where employee storage of corporate data in personal accounts does not comply with industry regulations.
Yet, a BYOD policy on its own doesn’t provide the best insurance against data loss or any of these secondary issues. Companies that want to build a stronger defense against BYOD threats are turning to unified communications (UC) functionality.
UC already benefits businesses by providing employees with access to real-time communications tools on any device, enabling anytime, anywhere collaboration. Since UC deploys applications in a common environment, it backs up BYOD policies by bolstering IT’s ability to monitor network usage for bandwidth management and data security.
When UC is cloud-based, it provides a cost-effective means for the secure exchange of information because it does not require the purchase of physical hardware. Since UC allows employees the flexibility of using any preferred device to access multiple interfaces, it is a key factor in making sure that multimedia quality is maintained on any channel.
The benefits of a centralized hosted UC solution also include easy software updates that automatically adapt to multiple operating systems. Thus, every application has a corresponding version that is compatible to interface with any mobile phone, laptop, or tablet. Without the support of UC integration, the benefits of mobile apps, a key business differentiator, could not be fully realized.
BYOD, while essential to collaboration in this day and age, complicates the process of monitoring and supporting communication. Cloud-based UC services mitigate this complexity and are therefore essential not only to workflow and employee performance, but also to consumer satisfaction.
Businesses with an eye to the future should embrace BYOD and address challenges to the growing number of devices used to communicate by developing a unified system. UC typically includes such employee-empowering real-time collaboration features as screen sharing, presence, instant messaging, SMS text messaging, and video conferencing. All in all, these services free workers to focus on core business goals.
Businesses gain competitive advantage through agility, and integrating a UC strategy is essential to flexible, consistent exchanges across an ever-widening diversity of devices. Your IT department could use some assistance managing BYOD, and UC and its network communications management features are that helping hand.
To find out more about how Star2Star protects your sensitive information: