Companies are increasingly embracing the BYOD revolution. Firms want to give their staff the ability to bring their own devices to work (and then take them home and continue working on them there).
But while the concept sounds great in principle, it throws up a lot of security problems in practice. There are now dozens of examples of colleagues inadvertently losing sensitive company information after leaving their laptops on trains. In some cases, the costs run into millions of dollars.
So what can you do to improve BYOD security? Let’s take a look.
Set Out Your Acceptable Use Guidelines
Acceptable use guidelines are a set of policies designed to outline how colleagues can use their BYOD devices for work. The goal is to maximize utility while minimizing the security risk at the same time.
Guidelines usually detail the following:
- Which apps employees can access from their personal devices
- What policies your company has on non-business BYOD usage
- What websites BYOD devices can access when connected to corporate networks
- What corporate shared resources personal devices can access when connected to the system.
Put Security Policies In Place
The next step is to ensure that all personal devices connecting to your network have the right security policies in place.
Minimum requirements for employees could include:
- Learning how to secure your web browser
- Asking them to install specific mobile security apps to protect their data
- Insisting on strong alphanumeric passwords
- Storing BYOD data locally
How strict you have to be with these guidelines depends very much on your industry. Defense contractors, for instance, will need to put more security measures in place than other business types.
Create Exit Plans
Employees with BYOD devices will regularly leave your company. When they do, you want to make sure that they can no longer access company assets. If they can, then it could potentially leave your firm at risk. The employee could move to a rival and then transmit your data to them, putting them at an advantage.
A proper exit plan includes changing passwords on their account, removing their account entirely from login privileges, and wiping any drives or devices that they use.
In many cases, you can trust ex-employees. However, on some occasions you can’t, so you mustn’t take chances.
Use Management Software
MDM or “mobile device management” software is a great way to ensure that you can protect BYOD devices from a central location.
Such software allows you to do all kinds of things, from enforcing security policies to preventing malware.
MDM works by automatically backing up any intellectual property in the cloud. Third-party monitoring professionals regularly perform vulnerability tests on mobile devices and block their access to company assets if there is a risk.
These tools also keep anti-malware applications updated and apply patches, so internal IT staff don’t have to coordinate personal devices.
Tell Your Employees About Your Policy
Lastly, you’ll want to communicate your BYOD policy to all employees. Employees need to know what you expect from them and how they can abide by the rules.