BYOD (bring your own device) is a pretty great thing for both employees and employers. It saves the additional capital in spending money on devices and also ensures employees will always have access to their data and e-mail. But it can be difficult to manage and sometimes can cause issues if BYOD isn’t managed properly. Over the last week, Pokemon Go has really exploded, giving employees one more game to be distracted with during business hours. But beyond the most obvious productivity issues, what other concerns should businesses have about Pokemon Go? Here are the main technology concerns and how Pokemon Go is impacting businesses…

  1. BYOD Malware Risks
    For those organizations who have implemented BYOD into the workplace, Pokemon Go is a particularly large security risk. While the app itself doesn’t necessarily pose a security risk to businesses, but companies should be made aware of a malware situation with fake versions of the Android App for the Pokemon Go application that are available on many different websites. The malware provides remote control over the users entire device, as discovered by security company Proof Point. For businesses using BYOD, this is particularly worrisome, since that would also give the hacker access into your business applications, e-mail and data.
  2. Access & Company Security
    Depending on the nature of the data that you’re dealing with, you’ll want to understand that Pokemon Go requires camera and location permissions, which means that during the augmented reality game, users will be using their camera and potentially even capturing screenshots while at work. For those businesses dealing with extremely sensitive data or those that have company security policies that don’t allow for camera use – this could be a massive issue. One Reddit user outlines how he almost lost his job over playing Pokemon Go in the workplace. Because he worked for a bank that death with sensitive customer information, he was accused of snapping screenshots while trying to capture Pokemon, which yielded phone confiscation and near-loss of job.
  3. Companies with Fleets
    This is an obvious one, but there is a huge problem with distracted driving and throwing “pokeballs” while driving down the road. For companies with fleets this is a particularly large issue. Because the app deals with augmented reality, it’s even more distracting than just texting or making a phone call while driving. This is a huge problem for those with fleets as it can impact efficiency of routes, cause car accidents and eventually increase expenses like insurance.

What should businesses do to make sure that they’re minimally impacted by this new phenomenon? While you can always try to eliminate the game play in the workplace, a better route might be develop a policy surrounding it and limiting it to break or lunch times only, with policies in place explaining how to identify malware and what to do. The more educated your users are on your company policies and how to detect malware, the less of a risk it will be. If you deal with sensitive information, you’ll want to make sure that you prohibit employees from playing the game at their desk, so as to avoid any accidental screen captures or confusion over what activities are going on. For those with fleets, strict policies that bear heavy consequences are highly recommended to avoid Pokemon Go use while driving.

As new technology emerges (even technology that isn’t necessarily directly business related), it’s important to assess how it can impact your business, employee productivity, safety and the security of your business data.