Bring Your Own Device: A Series Focus on EMEA

Today I begin a series of blogs which take an in-depth look at the issues surrounding what is commonly known as ‘Bring Your Own Device’, with a focus on the Healthcare and Life Sciences sector in EMEA. Bring Your Own Device or BYOD, is the catch-all phrase attributed to the use of personal technology devices in a corporate environment for business use.

I’ll look at the scale of BYOD in specific territories, get under the skin of exactly why this trend has taken off over the past few years and dig into the detail of the opportunities and costs of allowing a BYOD culture to develop within your healthcare setting. I’ll conclude the series with some practical advice on how advances in technology can help you safeguard your systems and data.

I’d also be interested to get your views too (leave a comment below or tweet us via @intelhealth), whether you’re a clinician working at the sharp end of care delivery and benefiting from using a personal device at work, or you’re an IT administrator tackling the often thorny and complex issue of implementing a BYOD policy in your organisation.

Cost of Data Breaches in EMEA

Providing context to the scale of BYOD across EMEA inevitably means looking at the cost of data breaches but I’d stress that not all of the consequences of allowing BYOD are negative, as I’ll explain in a later blog. A great point of reference though is the Ponemon Institute, which has produced detailed reports on the cost of data security breaches for many years.



Cost (m)

Ave per

Capita Cost

Negligence Cause (%)


Attacks (%)

System Biz Process Failures (%)



















UAE/Saudi Arabia
























*Source: 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study (country specific -. December 2014 – Ponemon Institute

The table above shows the significant costs associated with data breaches across a number of sectors including pharmaceuticals, energy and public (which includes health). BYOD sits under the term ‘Negligence Cause’ in the table above and for some countries in EMEA it accounts for a significant portion of overall breaches. The organisational costs are significant and reflect not only the consequential increase in investment to safeguard security weaknesses but also fines levied by national and pan-regional government.

I’ll drill down into specific examples of Bring Your Own Device in healthcare in more detail in the future but as a brief indicator we know, for example, that in England the National Health Service (NHS) suffered 7,255 personal data breaches over a 3 year period. These breaches of healthcare information security include data being lost, stolen or inappropriately shared with third parties, and in the case of inappropriate sharing this often includes a workaround using a personal device.

Opportunities presented by Bring Your Own Device

The negative comments around BYOD and associated costs to healthcare organisations as a result of data breaches often mask what are some fantastic upsides. I’m keen to emphasise in this series that with the right security solutions, both at rest and in transit, and across the entire network-client-device continuum, there are significant advantages to healthcare organisations in allowing individuals to use personal devices at work.

I hope this first blog has piqued your interest in what is a hot topic within the health and life sciences sector across the EMEA region. If you’ve successfully implemented a BYOD policy in your healthcare organisation or you want to highlight why and how you are using your personal device to deliver better patient care we’d be grateful to hear from you.

It would be fantastic to share some great examples from EMEA to help our community learn together. If you want to be the first to know when the next blog in this series will be published then sign-up to our Health and Life Sciences Community.

David Houlding, MSc, CISSP, CIPP is a Healthcare Privacy and Security lead at Intel and a frequent blog contributor.

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