BYOD could mean DYOB?

Andrew Parker, Chief Technology Officer at Net Essence Ltd discusses how ‘bring your own device’ could ‘destroy your own business’

For several years, people have been talking about ‘bring your own device’ as a way for businesses to save money and individuals to get to work remotely. Having realised that most people already own a laptop or a computer that they like, many companies allow employees to carry out company work on their own devices, thus avoiding the need to buy equipment for them. Bringing your own device has become so common in the industry, it’s earned itself the acronym BYOD. 

While working remotely can yield positive benefits to both the business and their staff, it does not come without risks. These serious threats to your company’s security could ultimately ‘destroy your own business’.

Companies need to consider these genuine risks to the safety of their data. Organisations must ask themselves: to what extent they can control and monitor personally owned devices? How safe is a device that is potentially used as a family computer? How suitable is that device for connecting to a business network containing potentially sensitive information? 

With the Covid-19 outbreak, companies were in a mad rush to at least attempt to get setup to enable staff to work remotely – very useful in lockdown circumstances.  However, criminal elements are specifically targeting SME’s precisely because of the lack of attention given to securing the network and especially securing remote-workers during a crisis transition.

So how do you protect your company from your own employees and their devices?

Andrew advises: “At Net Essence, we recommend connecting to a server where all your files and documents are securely contained. By linking to a server, employees have full access to their data from any device. A remote window on the company server allows employees to manipulate, change and work on files, without storing data locally. 

This model removes the risk of becoming infected by malware that local (user-owned) computers may pose. The remote server will essentially send video signals of a desktop, and the user’s keyboard and mouse will send signals back. The employee’s device becomes a remote screen, and the files and data stay on the company server.” 

In response to the Coronavirus crisis, the UK government introduced social distancing measures. As a result of this, 49.2% of working adults are now working from home according to figures released in April from the UK’s Office for National Statistics. In the rush for businesses to protect their workforce, it has undoubtedly left them vulnerable to threats.

Adding to this pressure, more than 70% of companies in the UK have taken action to furlough staff. For businesses that are still trading, making changes to IT infrastructure is probably very low down on their priority list. Nonetheless, it could mean the difference in protecting their data, not just now but in the future as well. 

Andrew comments that, “A remote desktop is a great fit for remote employees and office environments because whether users are in or out of the office, they won’t need powerful computers. All the processing is happening on a remote server, which would typically have a very high specification. This means businesses are no longer burdened with having to keep a whole fleet of PCs up to date and upgrading becomes faster. Users can even connect to a remote desktop server using something called a ‘thin client’, which costs an absolute fraction of the price of a modern PC. 

If a company decides to implement a remote desktop server during the crisis, it can be done very quickly with an existing server on site. Servers can be converted, or excess capacity can be used to create a new remote desktop server, sometimes without even having to travel to the office at all. Very often it can all be done remotely, or a new server can be configured and set up remotely and shipped to the site to be plugged into the network. This can be seamlessly integrated, and from that point, employees can carry on using their home equipment without putting the business data or network at risk.” 

Migration to a secure and compliant remote-working solution is a unique solution for each business and individual circumstances. If you would like a quote or to find out more, visit www.net-essence.com or email info@net-essence.com.

About Net Essence Ltd:

Net Essence is a Managed IT Services Provider. They offer a wide range of professional services—delivering effective, reliable and fit-for-purpose IT solutions for London based SMEs. Net Essence, proactively monitors and manages, IT infrastructure to prevent problems before they affect business.