Dealing with employees’ mobile errors in the BYOD workplace

November 11, 2014

At the center of the BYOD workplace trend is the mobile device. Whether it's a smartphone, tablet or wearable, employees are tapping into the convenience of anywhere/anytime access to cloud-based workflows and data as they meld their work-life balance to their liking. While this trend is still in its early stage, employers and employees alike have attested to the gains in worker productivity and satisfaction that the BYOD workplace has provided.

It hasn't all been smooth sailing though. The part of the BYOD workplace that is giving enterprises a considerable amount of trouble is the fact that employees are using their own personal devices. Many companies have yet to implement policies that regulate the use of personal devices in the workplace keeping them outside the purview of internal governance. Compounding the problem is the fact that employees often receive little to no training on proper use and security when using their own devices, especially on unsecured networks.

Human error a big contributor to data loss
Cloud Computing News looked at research from Databarracks, a cloud provider and found that 18 percent of instances of data loss are due to human error. Corruption and theft only accounted for 11 and 7 percent of data loss incidents respectively. It would seem that enterprises have more to fear in clumsy fingers than they do in deliberate malfeasance.

The news source illustrated this by showing how Joyent's entire East Coast data center was taken down by a mistyped command that caused every server to reboot. The ease with which the whole operation was taken down showed how vulnerable Joyent's cloud infrastructure was to employee mistakes.

"There are broader systemic issues that allowed a fat finger to take down a data centre," Joyent CTO Brian Cantrill wrote in a report.

Lost devices also a problem
The fact that both company and personal data is housed on employees' devices in the BYOD workplace means that theft or loss of the device could lead to sensitive information getting into the wrong hands. InfoWorld reported that many employees are hesitant to report a lost device for fear of getting into trouble.

Fortunately, a fairly straightforward solution has emerged – the selective wipe. Proactive IT departments are taking more control over the devices that employees can use to access proprietary workflows and equipping the devices with the ability to be remotely wiped if it is lost. Managers hope that this will encourage employees to report lost devices and protect the company from any critical data escaping the confines of the enterprise.