In this era of tech advancement, use of mobile devices by employees is growing at a rapid rate. As devices grow larger, combined with blazing 5G speeds that are around the corner, an even steeper rise in use of mobile devices by workers is inevitable.

That means the bad guys in the digital world will aim their attacks toward mobile devices even moreso in years to come. Business owners need to respond accordingly and be proactive about securing their phones. Anyone not addressing mobile device security yet will have to do so eventually.

Even now, lines are blurred between desk phones and smartphones, and companies are seeing major growth in IT trouble tickets being reported on mobile devices.

The key question is: Should employees use personal phones for company business, as part of a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy? Or should employers provide company-owned devices to their workers?

BYOD Pros

  • Fiscal responsibility: By not adding the burden of purchasing phones for workers, your bottom line improves. That amount saved will vary, depending on the size of your business.
  • Happy employees: Many workers will feel more satisfied and comfortable using the device they own, which can lead to improved productivity and performance.

BYOD Cons

  • Less control: With BYOD, an employer maintains control/protections over the work area of the phone, but not the entire device.
  • More education needed: You’ll need to spend more time educating workers how to safely approach work-related matters on their devices, and have faith they will not take actions that leave the company at risk. Among concerns are a risk of HIPAA violations for those in the medical field, and risky behavior that encourages cyber breaches.

Company supplied Pros:

  • More control: With a company owned-phone, you can control all areas of the phone, even remotely, without having to ask for any permissions.
  • Keep the number: If you supply company-owned phones, you are able to keep the phone (and the number) if the employee leaves.
  • Landline on your mobile: Software on company-owned phones can allow you to toggle between desk and cell phones on your mobile device.

Company Supplied Cons:

  • Higher costs: A company-supplied device gives you more control over security on your team’s mobile devices, but you’ll also have to spend more money.
  • Extra baggage: Many employees do not want to carry an extra mobile device, and will be reluctant to use a work-supplied phone.

In the end, the decision comes down to individual circumstances. You should do whatever makes you comfortable as a business owner.

Whatever you do, one thing is certain: From a security standpoint, do not ignore mobile devices.

Kelly Siegel is CEO of National Technology Management (NTM), 30400 Telegraph Road, Suite 116, in Bingham Farms. He has been in the IT consulting business for 21 years and saved businesses millions of dollars by streamlining their technology systems. NTM can be reached at 248-658-0829, and Siegel can be reached via email at ksiegel@trustntm.com.