Both large and small businesses are becoming more accepting of employees using their personal computers for work-related activities. Although it seems simple, there are a number of technological complexities, hazards, and policy considerations involved.
As the number of employees working from home continues to increase and the culture of “bring your own device” (BYOD) is promoted as a perk of employment, it’s a fitting time to discuss the utilization of company-provided devices instead of personal computers for work. In this article we’ll weigh the benefits, trade-offs, and cybersecurity concerns that this brings.
The Benefits of Using Personal Computers for Work
Any workplace trends like remote working will have an effect on a business, but this is where Bring your own devices can be very useful. The following are a few advantages of the BYOD culture:
- About 50% of workers age 30 and up think personal devices are more productive than office ones.
- When employees use their own devices for work, employers can save $350 annually.
Maintaining a good relationship between an employer and an employee has advantages for both parties, and a great way to do this is to allow the freedom for the employees to use their own devices should they wish to. The employer gains a little bit more productivity and worker happiness, and the employee enjoys the convenience of using a device and operating system they are comfortable with.
Cybersecurity Considerations and Risks
One clear issue that arises when employees use their own devices for work is that you have no longer have complete control over the environment where sensitive, or confidential work is being carried out. There are unanswered questions like:
- Who else except the employee has access to the machine?
- How cautious is the employee when browsing the web?
- How often are the machine’s operating system and applications updated?
- Which anti-virus and anti-malware programmes are installed? What is necessary for your industry?
Companies considering a BYOD culture must balance the potential benefits for the business and the workers against the risks of device loss and data exposure.
BYOD is not suitable for every business, industry, or market. To guarantee that security updates are implemented as soon as they become available, certain roles or entire operations may need to be issued company-owned computers with more stringent restrictions and software settings.
Industry-specific certifications and cybersecurity requirements might also be important considerations. Some cybersecurity maturity certifications may include limits that forbid using personal devices for business- or government-related tasks if you hope to work as a government contractor.
Before embracing the BYOD culture, you should take into account the following cybersecurity and security-related problems. how they can contribute to reducing them.
If employees’ computers aren’t capable of handling the workload, utilizing them for work could have negative effects on their productivity. Employee devices must be capable of performing and multitasking at the same level as company-owned devices in addition to running antivirus and anti-malware software in the background, or productivity will suffer.
Encryption is not a default feature in Windows 10 Home. However, I am sure what you are asking is does it come with Windows 10 Pro? Although automatic encryption is available in both Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro, the procedures are different.
Take efforts to ensure that any computer hosting firm data is automatically encrypted. If an employee’s machine cannot execute automatic encryption without interfering with their workflow or affecting their performance, provide them with a company-owned device.
If your business employs its own encryption procedures, abide by best practises to guarantee the security of your encrypted files. Automate encryption key management to decrease mistakes, make secure backups, and keep your key separate from the device at all times to prevent the encryption from becoming essentially useless.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)
If you have remote employees that require access to corporate resources like databases or tools, VPNs may be useful. Employees get access to these resources just as if they were on the company’s internal IT network.
The use of virtual private networks for security is also beneficial. Employees should install and utilise VPNs to protect their IP addresses if they conduct business on their personal computers or public networks. This also protects their online activity’s contents, such as confidential company information and intellectual property (IP), from malicious users.
One of the most fundamental principles of PC safety is the regular backup of content on personal computers. However, if a worker brings their own device to work, should the corporation back up personal files in addition to its intellectual property?
There should be a clear set of expectations when employees start using personal computers for work because this could be a sensitive subject for some of them. Consider:
- Employees should perform entire PC backups or more focused ones.
- Exists a preferred backup technique or software?
- Local backups are acceptable? Is there a cloud alternative that is more secure?
- Are traditional backups still necessary, or is there a cloud-based alternative?
- The backups will be encrypted in what way?
- PC backups will be accessible to whom and under what conditions?
A lot of businesses respond to attempted ransomware and cyber-extortion by reverting to recent backups. Given the delicate nature of these backups, it could be best to instruct staff to only use them in an emergency rather than as a temporary workaround for accidentally deleting personal material.
Cybersecurity can be compromised by computer repairs. The machines may occasionally be out of your hands and the chain of custody may be hazy for a few days or a few weeks.
If your staff uses personal computers for work and one of them needs repair, you must have a solid policy in place that addresses the following issues:
- Does the employee bring the item to the original equipment maker or your company’s IT department for repair?
- Does the business work with a third party that has expertise in PC repair?
- What steps are involved in fixing computers that contain sensitive data?
- Is there a recommended way to remove private information from a computer before taking it in for repair? Is it your IT staff’s or the device owner’s responsibility?
If your staff needs to perform a factory reset on their computers, make sure they are aware of where to obtain the instructions.
Chain of custody
Finally, how can the chain of custody be monitored both before and after the equipment leaves the company’s control? You might remember the theft of private information from a Facebook employee who unintentionally left business hard drives in their vehicle overnight. Always be aware of who has access to your machines as well as their whereabouts.
Keep Company-Issued and Personal Computers Safe
Your teams will need to take extra security measures if they use their own laptops for work. Allowing staff to use their own devices may help your company save some money, but you might lose millions if that same device is compromised or contains customer information. Every party must be aware of the hazards and understand how to do their part to reduce them in order to maintain safety.
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