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Are BYOD Benefits Worth the Costs?

Are BYOD Benefits Worth the Costs?

BYOD policies continue to grow in popularity despite the attendant liability risks.

Friday, January 10, 2014/Categories: data-breach

A new survey by CompTIA (the Computer Technology Industry Association) finds that more than 60 percent of companies have approved bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies at the office. Arguments in support of BYOD range from increased productivity to the impossibility of policing the use of personal devices at work.

But from a risk management angle, are the benefits of BYOD worth the costs? Here's a look at how allowing your employees to use their own devices for work projects can expose you to various risks - and how to manage those risks in a cost-effective way.

Errors & Omissions and Cyber Liability Risks

Errors and Omissions Insurance protects technology companies from the costs related to lawsuits alleging that their work caused damages or financial losses to clients. For tech companies, Cyber Liability Insurance protects against costs related to data breaches and other events cause by your company's work or oversights.

When a technology firm adopts a BYOD policy, the risks that apply to both of these types of coverage increase because…

  • They introduce more points of exposure for client information. The more doors you have in your house, the more options a burglar has to get in. The same is true for your information: the more devices your employees are using, the more opportunities exist for one of them to be lost, hacked, or otherwise compromised, which can put client data at risk.
  • They make managing encryption and other safety protocol more difficult. When a company's equipment is not kept in a single location (such as an office), it's more difficult to update and monitor. Mandatory password and software updates can be tricky to implement when devices are portable and leave the office on a regular basis.
  • They facilitate a more casual work atmosphere. While this is often considered a positive outcome, it can also invite risks: when employees are using their personal devices, they may not be in the same rigorous safety-first mindset as they are at work. This can cause them to unintentionally expose their devices (and the information they access through those devices) to dangerous risks.

Does BYOD Increase the Cost of Technology Insurance?

While a BYOD policy itself may not affect the cost of your Errors and Omissions or Cyber Liability Insurance, it could increase your chances of experiencing a data breach or other incident. And for most insurance companies, a company with a history of data exposure incidents will almost certainly pay more for coverage than a company with a clean record.

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