There’s no doubt about it: the UK loves its mobile devices. We view more web pages on mobile devices than any other country in Europe. Nearly 1/3 of our page views are on mobile phones of tablets. In Italy that number falls to about 10 %, and in France it’s just over 7%. Mobile device penetration in the UK is also the highest in Europe at 80% in 2015.

This proliferation of personal mobile devices provides a tremendous opportunity for organisations, or – depending on how your approach to mobile security – a major headache. More and more of us are bringing these personal devices to work, and more of us are expecting them to work at work. However, many of individual users don’t have to deal with the IT and security impact of bringing our own devices to work with us.

On the plus side, BYOD can reduce costs and increase productivity. UK companies on average save over £1,100 per person on hardware, support and data with employees who bring their own devices. In terms of productivity, having their own devices means your employees have the ability to customise the software, apps and services they use to fit their working styles.

For UK employees, this customisation has led to an average of 51 minutes per week in increased productivity, which translates to over £600/year per employee. And as mobile devices (and the apps and operating systems running on them) become more powerful, we can expect to see that productivity continue to increase. Added to this productivity is the flexibility it gives employees to be able to switch between work mode and personal mode seamlessly. It’s no wonder that companies that rely on a productive and mobile workforce such as Everest Home Improvement and NTTX Select are embracing BYOD on a large scale.96e5c16aa2252218c64d476b0e0048ee69e3bc40_large

But while employees love the freedom and flexibility of BYOD, and managers love the productivity and cost savings, there’s definitely a risk that your IT manager probably know about all too well: security. By giving your employees the freedom and flexibility of a BYOD program, you’re suddenly opening up your company’s data to a slew of potential breaches.

First, there are the operating systems. Employees could be using mobile devices running various versions of Android, iOS or Windows. And then there are the apps: the average mobile device in the UK and US has 24 of them. Each of these operating systems and apps is generally managed by its respective developer. So when you multiply employees by device OS and again by apps, you’ve got hundreds of potential security risks. And in these cases, your whole business’ security is only as strong as the weakest link in one employee’s BYOD software.

In addition to software threats, there’s also the very real risk of your employees losing these devices. A quick exit from a taxi. Distraction on the train. A purse pocket accidentally left open. (It’s happened to all of us.) It’s estimated that UK employees lose nearly 10,000 mobile devices a year. If not properly secured, that device could literally become a walking, talking security breach. Whoever picks up that device could have access to sensitive company data: confidential emails, strategic presentations or financial details and forecasts.

Fortunately, with the right mobile solution in place for your company, you can get all the benefits of BYOD while getting rid of the headaches. And that’s why enterprises big and small love Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS): it helps to keep their employees productive on their favourite apps and devices – and their company’s data protected. Plus, it’s simple to set up and was built to work seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365.

 

Acknowledgment and thanks to Adrian Alleyne for this article.