BYOD and Poisonous Amphibians (Yes, They’re Related)

BYOD and Poisonous Newts - Micro Visions, Inc.Having spent the last few months of my life in a zoologist’s lab poking at poisonous amphibians, there is one thing I would do well to remember: Never put the toxic newts in tanks with the nontoxic.

Separating the toxic from nontoxic is standard procedure for labs, but companies tend to be less dedicated to separating personal from professional devices. Enter Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), in which the personal devices invade the business zone and make operations more difficult.

BYOD

  • The idea behind separating the newts is that it’s almost impossible to control a specific environment when too many variables are introduced. Just as throwing a highly toxic newt in a tank with a nontoxic would impact bacterial life or newt behavior, adding personal devices to the business environment does security no good. Here we are, sitting at our desks and putting passwords all over the place and accessing data nobody else should see, and then the device comes home. Or on the bus, or on a plane somewhere. That doesn’t bode well. Let’s not start on all those links to sumo wrestlers petting kittens we clicked on while browsing Facebook (they’re coming back to work in the morning. Hope the kittens aren’t hackers on the side).
  • Workplace diversity tends to be less positive when that diversity is in devices. Opening a document in Windows that somebody created with a random Apple app tends not to work well. Hello, formatting issues (so much for increasing productivity).
  • Beware licenses. Some agreements only allow installation on devices owned by the company.
  • Who controls the device? Who is liable for whatever I’m doing with those sumo wrestlers? Am I? The company? Does the company have the right to wipe the device in case of security breach? All deep, life changing questions.
  • Finally, of course, the big question. Does BYOD increase or decrease productivity? Here lies a balance between the convenience of bringing my own device and the ability to watch those sumo wrestlers all day because it’s my device and I’ll do what I want.

Stay tuned for more information about the effects of BYOD on an organization’s security and tips for keeping your data safe.