Many business and IT decisions makers are still catching up with the increasingly popular policy of bring your own device (BYOD) in the workplace. But just as BYOD is winning out as a practical solution for increasingly hyper worker connectivity, bring your own network (BYON) is also beginning to appear as a potential challenge that should be considered.
This concept of bring your own network, or BYON, is a still developing term often given to the abstraction of networks and services that are accessed by individual users from their personally-owned devices. In other words, every server used for uploads and downloads, every service used to complete those uploads and downloads, every different type of email client and web browser they choose for whatever reason, is literally customized based on that individuals own terms and preferences. And that’s the problem.
BYOD involves some practical loss of control over personal devices that are used to access business resources, usually voice and email communications. But a rising number of workers are using their smartphones for much more including mobile uploads and downloads as well as shared connectivity. Arguably, company information provided in either the setup of those services or in the transmission of files to those mobile devices could be at risk depending on their sensitivity and levels of access.
Of course, shared connectivity presents its own challenges – call it BYOC – but suffice to say that BYOC is also an important part of the individual users own personal network and therefore must be included in the context of this discussion.
In most cases, BYON, BYOD and even BYOC probably aren’t really exposing anything to worry about but it’s always that one time when something gets through that nobody considered. Does that mean bringing your own anything to the workplace is a bad thing? No, but it is important to take precautions.
Of course, things happen. But even just a simple and enforceable password policy for all devices can make a big difference. Even better, provide a comprehensive BYO policy with clear explanations of individual responsibilities and accountability. All of this is intended to do one thing: educate users to be the first line of defense through the safest possible use of their personal devices.
BYOD and all of its natural iterations are an increasingly practical and popular policy in response to the ongoing consumerization of IT. All of these trends are virtually unstoppable. They make sense. But they also need to be managed.