BYOD Security Policies: Solutions to Address Security Concerns and Challenges
Bring Your Own Device (or BYOD) policies are becoming more and more popular in the workplace, and it’s not hard to see why when you look at the pros and cons. The biggest concern when it comes to these new technology allowances is security, and that’s where a strong BYOD security policy comes into play. How you implement your policy and security measures will have a great deal of impact on how much or how little risk you expose your company to while reaping all of the positive benefits of this business trend. So what do you need to create and implement a successful, secure BYOD policy?
In any good list of important tips to protect your company’s data, you’ll find encryption, and that is no different when dealing with protecting your business data in a BYOD environment. By encrypting data as it is being transferred to and from your employees’ devices, as well as while it is on such devices, you are scrambling it so that it cannot be read (and is therefore useless) without the proper passcodes.
Applications for Remote Access
It’s even better if you can set up a user-friendly application that allows employees to securely access your company files remotely, yet the app can be set to lock out automatically after a certain amount of time of inactivity. When locked, all company files are erased from the device itself, though they are still stored safely in your company’s data servers, keeping your company’s data and your employees’ personal data separate. The application, of course, should also be encrypted.
Mobile Device Management
In looking at Bring Your Own Device security issues and challenges, you’ll find that many list the fact that the business needs to control who can access the network, but they cannot control where mobile devices are going and what protocols are in place to ensure they aren’t lost or stolen. There are solutions to this. Make sure there are protocols in place that will allow your IT department to manage a mobile device’s (e.g. phone, laptop, tablet) access to your network. Mobile device management (MDM) is critical to make sure that a lost or stolen device cannot be used to access secure company information.
Identity Access Management
With any BYOD policy, you should implement some method of identity access management (IAM) to go along with it. You should specifically use one that uses two-factor identification to verify that an employee is the one trying to gain access to your business data, rather than a device that has fallen into the hands of someone who would compromise that data. To further prevent unauthorized access and the use of cached passwords, you should also have your company’s BYOD IAM include frequent re-authorization, so your employees have to re-enter their passwords and won’t stay logged into your company’s data.
Set Specific, Clear BYOD Security Policies and Educate Your Employees about Them
One of the biggest risks involved with a BYOD policy is the fact that your employees may not be informed on the best practices of keeping your company data safe. That’s why you need to have specific, clear BYOD security policies and you need to frequently educate your employees about said policies, updating and refreshing them on a regular basis. Don’t just send out an e-mail to launch or remind employees of these security policies, either. These policies should be established during a company-wide meeting, and regular follow-up educational meetings should be held as well. These in-person education sessions will help your employees buy into the idea that these policies are serious and should be followed, even though their own devices are being used.
When considering BYOD security policies, make sure to include the following:
- Do NOT allow “jailbroken” devices, as these suffer from known security vulnerabilities.
- Any lost or stolen devices that have been used to access the company network must be reported to IT immediately.
- Make sure device operating systems, anti-malware programs, firmware, software, anti-virus programs, etc., are kept up-to-date to prevent known vulnerabilities from being exploited.
- Devices used to access business networks MUST have a screen lock password.
Your BYOD security policies will need to be much more in-depth, however. They should include app use policies (what apps are allowed/banned on devices used for business), an employee exit strategy (for those who leave the company), and IT support policies (for what happens if employee devices used for business need maintenance or repair). You will also need to consider how much right your company has to monitor and enforce these rules, how to implement them, and more.
BYOD Security Policies: Is Your Business Data Safe?
BYOD policies are clearly more involved than some might initially believe, but they can have extraordinary business benefits if executed properly. To determine if your policies are meeting the challenges and addressing the concerns that come with them, you may want to consult the experts. Customer 1st Communications has years of experience helping clients establish an efficient and secure IT infrastructure. We can put security protocols in place on your cloud and data servers to minimize the security risks associated with BYOD. For more information or for a free consultation, contact us here or call 855-TECH-C1C (855-832-4212).