Annodata issued a Freedom of Information (FoI) request that found 42 per cent of council districts in England do not have a BYOD policy in place, a status that the MSP warns puts data at risk
According to Annodata, without an enforceable plan in place, these organisations may be leaving themselves exposed to the risk of data leakage and any benefits to be had from BYOD will be lessened.
Considering, the strict guidelines on data security in the public sector, especially when it comes to protecting the confidential information of citizens, the MSP says that it’s vital to have a clear BYOD strategy in place before employees use their own devices to access an organisation’s data.
“BYOD can bring clear benefits in the form of greater flexibility and increased productivity. However, any gains to be had from BYOD will be null and void if there is not a clear policy to accompany this,” said Marketing Director Joe Doyle.
“The risk of not giving BYOD appropriate consideration can result in companies being left exposed to an increased risk of data leakage, whilst also making it difficult to determine which devices are accessing which systems and data. Employees want to use their own devices and experience tells us that they will, with or without a standard. Having a BYOD policy grants organisations greater visibility and control over this,” he added.
With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), controlling who has access to company data and from what devices, this is set to become even more important. Organisations will face serious legal and financial repercussions, with fines of up to four per cent of total revenue.
“The public sector in particular needs to approach BYOD with due diligence and special emphasis needs to be placed on security when employees are using their own devices to access an organisation’s data. Despite this, the research highlights that a number of local authorities are yet to implement specific and enforceable measures,” Doyle stated.
Doyle argues that this is the ideal opportunity for council districts, and other public sector organisations, to revise their approach to existing IT polices and how data is managed. “Doing so will minimise the risks associated with BYOD and will enable the real benefits, including increased productivity and efficiency, to be attained. Local authorities should look to work with the right provider who can conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of their current approach,” he said.
“With the trend towards BYOD gaining increasing traction, technology is there to support this initiative, especially as vendors are working to improve the efficiency and security of mobile solutions. Employees now wish to use their personal devices at work in order to streamline processes and make their lives easier; they want to have the same print capabilities and access to documents on their mobile device as they do when using their desktop. A BYOD strategy should be top of the agenda for organisations that don’t currently have one in place. Considering that digital workflow is becoming more important than ever, seamless printer access is just one way that BYOD can enable the local authorities to be more productive and efficient,” Doyle concluded.
A separate FOI request to determine the adoption of cloud-based solutions in the public sector, revealed that while 58 per cent of councils are using the cloud to some extent, only six per cent have implemented any form of cloud-based printing.