BYOD = Bring your own disaster for multifamily?

Workplaces today have changed. The modern leasing office extends beyond the working hours, beyond the leasing desk. Whether you are commuting to a property or corporate office, or even vacationing, chances are that you or your teams take a break from the break to reply to those important emails that require ‘immediate action’. Plus, there may even be employees who are not even in the same state as you. What does all this mean for your management company in terms of IT security? Does BYOD translate to bring your own disaster to multifamily communities? This blog explores the risks of BYOD culture and offers tips on how you can avoid them.

When you adopt a BYOD culture at your company and your properties, you are opening the virtual floodgates to all kind of malwares and phishing attacks. Your leasing staff and corporate teams may be storing company or community-related data on their personal devices and then clicking a malicious link they received on their personal email or (even whatsapp in case of tablets or smartphones) and put your entire network at risk. Secondly, you cannot control how your employees use their personal devices. They may connect to unauthorized networks, download unauthorized software programs, use outdated antivirus programs etc,. Even something as simple and harmless as the free WiFi at the mall or local coffee shop can spell danger for your data.

What you can do?

First of all, if you have decided to adopt the BYOD culture in your company and your properties, ensure you have a strong written BYOD policy in place. It should cover the do's and don’ts and define boundaries and responsibilities related to the BYOD environment.

It also makes sense for you to invest in strong antivirus software and mandate those employees following the BYOD model to install it. You can also conduct device audits to ensure your employee’s personal devices are up-to-date in terms of software, security and firewall requirements to the extent that they are safe to be used for work purpose.

And one of the most important aspects--train your leasing teams and corporate staff on the best practices related to basic data security, access and BYOD environments. This will ensure that they don’t make mistakes that prove costly to you. You can conduct mock drills, tests and certifications and provide the BYOD privilege to only those who clear your tests. You could also use positive and negative reinforcements to ensure everyone takes it seriously.

BYOD is great in terms of the flexibility it lends to both--the employer and the employee, and the trend is here to stay. It is up to a management company to ensure it helps more than it can hurt.