Is your company ready to make the move toward greater employee flexibility and system accessibility? If so, you may want to consider extending a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) option to current employees. Before you implement any new practices, however, you’ll need to be sure you’re also prepared to supplement your current security measures to account for the increased liability that comes with the BYOD trend.
A BYOD workplace can provide substantial benefits. Employees will likely appreciate the ability to work more freely on their favorite devices, which could have positive effects on overall efficiency. You’ll also enjoy lower equipment maintenance costs, as workers will foot more of that burden.
But BYOD policies can pose certain threats, too. As employees become more mobile, so does the company data that they’re carrying around on their personal devices. If a worker’s phone or computer is stolen, compromised, or lost, there’s a real risk that critical information could be exposed. As a result, your company may end up covering the costs of the breach — an expense that has increased substantially in the last few years.
Fortunately, with a strong security policy in place and reliable technology support, you can protect sensitive data in a BYOD workplace.
Policies to Reduce Breach Risks
The first step toward protecting your data will be to create and implement a clear policy for BYOD best practices. Make sure to train all employees on these guidelines, and keep all staff abreast of any changes.
Many BYOD policies talk about VPN (Virtual Protected Network) requirements for company-related work. VPNs protect against hacking by increasing user anonymity and mitigating the risks of fake network connections. Several affordable VPN services exist, so consider investing in accounts for your employees to use when accessing company data on their devices.
Don’t forget to encourage more general online safety practices too, like using complex passwords for accounts. Passwords should be nearly impossible to guess, and employees should avoid using the same password across multiple different accounts and services.
You can further minimize risk by asking that employees never write passwords down and by requiring that they change their passwords at least once every six months. These practices will go a long way in helping to defend critical information from hackers and identity thieves.
Technological Defenses and Protective Measures
BYOD protections don’t stop with policies — you’ll want to make sure that your company’s technology and internal systems are monitored and secure as well. You can start by using a mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) to provide your employees with the tools and apps they need to perform their tasks on mobile devices. MEAPs add another layer of security, as most of them come with encryption features. Utilizing an MEAP will also standardize the tools your workforce is using, guaranteeing that everyone is on the same page, across devices. Some MEAP systems also offer marketplace access and management, along with tools for integration with back end systems.
It’s also important that your IT department still be capable of covering any devices used for company work. The team should be prepared to offer support and oversee the security features on all devices. By looping your IT department into the program, you give them the control necessary to regulate data access and administration.
Overall, BYOD policies can increase employee mobility and satisfaction, but you’ll want to make sure that all sensitive information is treated responsibly. Once you’ve got a solid user policy, start exploring some security package options. With proper planning, you can easily and safely bring your company up to the cutting edge of corporate technological advancement.