Ephemeral Messaging Protects Privacy in a BYOD Environment

November 4, 2015

By Mike Koclanes

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The days of working at a company and receiving a new cell phone on your first day have started to fade away.  Market researcher Gartner Inc. predicts that almost four in 10 organizations will rely exclusively on a policy of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) — meaning they will no longer provide devices to employees– by 2016, and 85 percent of businesses will have some kind of BYOD program in place by 2020.

Why is BYOD a Hot Trend?

The BYOD trend is popular amongst employees who bring their personal smartphones, tablets and laptops to the office, or use them offsite as they take their work home. Businesses benefit from BYOD programs shifting costs to the user – including costs for the hardware, taxes, voice and/or data services, and other associated expenses.

The Good Technology State of BYOD Report states that 50 percent of companies with BYOD models are requiring employees to cover all costs — and they are happy to do so. Why?  Many employees don’t want to carry two cell phones to work.  Users prefer their own devices and they’d rather use the devices they love rather than being stuck with laptops and mobile devices that are selected and issued by the IT department.  BYOD devices tend to be more cutting edge, and users also upgrade to the latest hardware more frequently than the painfully slow refresh cycles at most organizations.

Risks to Company Privacy

So the switch to mobility is in full swing and must be embraced by most organizations. But the risks to company privacy are high as employee’s access email and other potentially proprietary data on their own devices.

      1. Small and medium-sized businesses have been at the forefront of the BYOD trend, with almost 62 percent of American SMBs having an official BYOD policy in place as of 2013, according to research conducted by iGR, a wireless and mobile communications consulting firm.
      2.  At least another 10 percent lack an official policy but allow employees to use their personal devices to perform work-related tasks.
      3. Data security and regulatory compliance are big issues with BYOD environments. SMBs often must absorb more risk than larger enterprises out of necessity. They can’t afford a security team, a chief information security officer, and all that this entails. SMB’s and Enterprise companies need to approach device and data management in a manner that secures corporate and their customer’s data, but doesn’t hinder productivity. Furthermore, when a worker is let go, or leaves the company of their own accord, segregating and retrieving company data can be a problem.

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Solutions to Consider

      1. For both SMB and Enterprise customers, Mobility Device Management (MDM) Solutions, like IBM Maas360, VMWare Airwatch, Good Technologies and Mobile Iron, do a good job of managing the segregation of the data on the mobile device and protecting it with encryption and pin codes. They also enable clearing this business data if the phone is lost or employee is terminated. However, when it comes to mobile communications, the text messages, emails and chats are sent to recipient devices that are out of the control of the sender’s organization and devices, beyond the reach of the MDM policies.
      2. Ephemeral messaging applications such as Vaporstream are designed for the BYOD world. They have the power and ease of use of email and text messaging without the liability of it.  Ephemeral messages cannot be shared or stored and disappear after use.  Regardless of the device, users can exchange messages securely across the enterprise, yet those messages do not remain on any devices and cannot be shared by any device, even those beyond the control of your MDM solution.
      3. Compliance is important in heavily regulated industries like Healthcare, Insurance, Legal, and Finance just to name a few. Keep that in mind as you shop around for an ephemeral messaging solution that will address your needs. Consider vendors that uniquely allow companies to opt for a Governance Module where they can archive messages, in a secure on premise store. These can be tagged as transient messages with a short term retention  or for as long as required in regulated industries, while leaving nothing on the BYOD devices. The only copy is in your secured archive for e-discovery, no exposure on BYOD devices or copies on unintended recipient devices and servers. Vaporstream covers these requirements and helps customers meet their regulatory requirements.

As companies embrace BYOD programs, they can also meet the unique privacy challenges by taking one simple step, in addition to implementing MDM – adopting a secure, ephemeral, compliant messaging platform. Enable efficient communication without sacrificing control over confidential information. If you currently do not have a solution that addresses privacy, security and compliance for mobile messaging download a FREE trial of the Vaporstream® App today (available in the APP Store and Google Play).

Further Reading

The Pros and Cons of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

BYOD is as entrenched (and complicated) as ever

BYOD Policies Need to Address Rise in Patient Data Breaches

 

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