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Employees must learn how to protect devices


Employing a mobile workforce provides small-business owners greater versatility by giving staff the ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection. Many firms can't afford to outfit their team with smartphones or tablets, paving the way for "bring your own device" (BYOD) policies. Because these deployments bring on inherent risks, small firms should have cyberliability insurance to protect company data. In addition, employees have to do their best in securing their mobile gadgets.

However, a new survey from NQ Mobile, a mobile internet services provider, found one-quarter of survey respondents have either lost their phone or had it stolen in the past, but only 52 percent of respondents said their device has a passcode or other authentication method set up. This is not good news for small-business owners who give their employees the ability to use their own smartphones and tablets to complete business-related tasks.

"Consumers are entrusting their mobile devices with their most valuable information, and they seem aware of the problems that a loss or breach of security can cause," said Conrad Edwards, chief experience officer for NQ Mobile. "Still, we're not seeing people taking the level of action they should in order to protect themselves."

Lost devices could lead to big problems
Employees at small firms know how important their devices are to them, and if phones land in the wrong hands, cybercriminals could potentially debilitate a company. The survey revealed 48 percent of respondents said they would be "in big trouble" if they misplaced their smartphone or tablet, but in the same token, 44 percent believe the data they need to protect is properly secured. Establishing a clear BYOD policy is the only way to ensure the security of employee-owned gadgets.

Consider the pros and cons of BYOD
?Not all companies need to deploy BYOD policies. In fact, small-business owners should understand if letting employees use their personal devices for work-related purposes is worth it. According to a recent article by Business 2 Community, firm owners must look at what mobile features they can benefit from the most. If the staff relies heavily on communicating via email, a BYOD policy could allow employees to be constantly connected. However, if the company uses virtualized desktops, using employee-owned devices will not be as beneficial to the enterprise as originally conceived.

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