BYOD: An Essential Guide For SMBs


Last year we held a company-wide luncheon to discuss our new policies on BYOD (bring your own device). It’s interesting how technology trends have changed in the last five years.

What was once considered taboo using your personal iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S4 at work is now encouraged by SMBs. Even our own IT managers were on the fence about adopting our new policy. Would our staffers spend too much wasted time staying in touch with friends and family using social media? Or worse: how would our security protection hold up against hackers?

Our BYOD Results

Many businesses fear what we did here at our own company. However, after more than a year, here are some of the benefits we experienced with our team members:

  • Client contact improved by 23%
  • Employees conducted more work at night and on weekends
  • Off-site communication improved by nearly 47%
  • Our staff felt more empowered using their devices freely
  • 71% of our employees used both their personal smartphones and tablets

BYOD & Security

Recently a client of ours contacted us about our secret sauce implementing our own BYOD policies. They were curious how we managed our security compliance on personal devices. Here’s what we did:

  1. For the first three months, we approved business email communication between our staff and clients.
  2. Our next step was to integrate Skype accounts on personal devices.
  3. Lastly, our senior IT technicians gave our team members VPN access to internal files and documentation.

We developed three tiers of server access for personal devices. Clearly, there’s too much risk opening up your entire network to off-site access. So it was mission-critical for us to limit access to certain files to our staff.

Cyber Attack & BYOD

Do you have 250 or fewer employees? If so, we recommend you first invest in an external security review.

In a 2013 research study conducted by Symantec, companies with less than 250 employees had a higher risk of cyber attack. Between 2011 and 2013, Symantec reports cyber criminals targeting small companies increased from 18% to 31%.

Why? Companies with 250 or fewer employees are far easier to infiltrate due to outdated security protection.

It’s no surprise malicious hackers target small businesses for customer data and intellectual property theft. Our research suggests exposure begins with your entry-level staff and off-site contractors.

Many SMBs managers worry their technology will be at risk of hacking and identity theft. For obvious reasons, we recommend working with a proven outsourcing company to evaluate your current structure and then develop a safe plan to roll out your BYOD policy.

Every company manages their data differently so it’s smart to analyze your current access gateways. Then develop a 90 day plan giving select employees limited access to your internal networks on their personal devices.

Go slow. You will discover in the first few weeks you’ll need to update some of your encryption handling. It makes sense to provide your senior managers access as test candidates. Then evaluate the results.

Evaluating Your IT Department? Take This Checklist!

The role of information systems professionals in the modern workplace is rapidly evolving as cloud solutions provide more affordable options. Businesses of all sizes are now evaluating their IT needs in order to determine whether they are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible.

IT expertise is more important than ever, since businesses rely on their applications and devices to conduct business each day. But automation has also made it possible to operate with minimal staff, which is good news for smaller businesses with limited budgets. As you work to evaluate your own IT department, here’s an all-inclusive checklist for your consideration.

Security and Network Support

The security of your data, applications, and websites is crucial to your success as a business. One data breach can cost your business thousands of dollars in fines and loss of customers, as well as damaging the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. As you evaluate your IT department, take a careful look at your security as a top priority.

„       Anti-malware measures—Are measures in place to make sure your servers and devices are safe from malware and hacking attempts?

„       Employee education—Does your business actively work to educate employees on the importance of responsible online behavior and password management?

„       Disaster recovery—Is a Disaster Recovery Plan in place to protect your business?

Application Support and Security

If your employees access in-house applications in the course of conducting their work, those applications must also be protected and supported.

„       Password management—How are passwords issued and managed for your applications? Is immediate help available when employees need a password reset or issued?

„       Training and support—Is training available for new employees? If an employee has a problem using the application, is that help available? Are employees satisfied with the level of support they’re receiving?

„        Upgrades and bug fixes—Can employees report issues with the application? If so, how quickly are they resolved?

Desktop Support

Once the backbone of an organization’s IT department, desktop support has dwindled in recent years. Thanks to remote desktop software, support can be outsourced and conducted by phone or live chat. Is this support sufficient?

„       Problem resolution—If an employee experiences difficulty with a system, how is support provided? Are employees satisfied with the quality and turnaround time of this service?

„       On-Site support—When new equipment must be set up or hardware problems are reported, is on-site support available? Are employees satisfied with the quality and turnaround time of this service?

This checklist can help you determine what changes you need to make in your IT department, if any. Whether you decide to maintain current staffing levels, to outsource, or to increase the quality or quantity of your IT staff, a checklist can help decide where you’ve been and where you should go next.