Public sector organisations need to give BYOD appropriate consideration

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A recent survey conducted by Annodata, provider of communications, managed print and IT services, reveals that a number of organisations within the public sector still need to give 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) initiatives proper consideration. Only then can security risks be avoided and the benefits of BYOD fully achieved.

The latest research, which surveyed 100 UK IT decision-makers from public sector organisations, found that only 22 per cent of companies currently have a policy for BYOD in place, while 43 per cent were unsure.

The public sector is bound by strict guidelines on data security, especially when it comes to keeping citizen's confidential information secure, and these guidelines are set to get stricter still with the upcoming implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As a result, it's important to have a clear BYOD strategy implemented before employees use their own devices to access an organisation's data.

Responding to the results, Andrew Smith, Technical Director commented: "While BYOD undoubtedly liberates employees due to greater flexibility, companies must address the obstacles that come with this in order to fully realise the benefits of such initiatives. Without a clear policy implemented, an increased number of personal devices can result in security and data protection risks, such as data leakage, while also causing increased complexity when it comes to determining which devices are accessing which systems and data.

"Special emphasis needs to be put on the security aspects relating to BYOD and many public sector organisations are yet to put in place specific and enforceable policies. However, this is the perfect opportunity for these organisations to review existing IT policies and how information is managed. By doing so, risks can be mitigated and the real benefits, such as productivity and efficiency gains, can be achieved. With this trend growing, technology is there to support such initiatives, particularly as vendors are working to improve the efficiency of mobile solutions as well as trying to make them more secure. This means working with the right vendor who can conduct a thorough and comprehensive review is essential.

"BYOD is certainly here to stay and will continue to gain traction. Consequently, preparing a BYOD strategy should be at the forefront for companies that don't currently have one in place. Employees now wish to use their mobile phones at work and do so in order to make their lives easier. To this end, users want to have the same access to documents and print capabilities on mobile devices as they have on desktops, and with digital workflow becoming more important than ever, seamless printer access is just one example of how BYOD can enable the public sector to be more productive," concluded Smith.

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