Enhance Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Security at Your Business
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are becoming more and more popular with Canadian businesses, and for good reasons. Supporting BYOD helps businesses cut costs, increase employee productivity, and improve work-life balance.
However, it’s important to consider the security challenges that BYOD can introduce within your business. With your staff using the mobile devices of their choice for both personal and professional purposes, how can you safeguard the company-related data on those devices? Understandably, BYOD has cost more than one IT manager a good night’s sleep.
The good news is that there are ways to enhance your business’ BYOD security. Here are some helpful steps you can start with:
Before you can enhance BYOD security at your company, you need to know what you’re dealing with. The first step is to take an inventory of the types of mobile devices being used, who’s using them and how. Since the issue is BYOD, this includes any staff-owned devices that connect to your company’s network and/or contain company-related data.
Develop and implement a policy
Gather input about your current BYOD situation from everyone at your company, not just the IT people. Use that input to create a BYOD policy that details ownership of work-related data if the employment arrangement is ended and lays out what types of devices, software, apps, websites, passwords, Wi-Fi practices, etc. are acceptable and unacceptable for staff. It’s important to communicate with your employees so they know what the rules are, along with what the company is and is not responsible for. After educating your workers about the new policy, be ready to enforce and update it as necessary.
Use technology tools
Fortunately there are now many tools available to help you make BYOD a more secure endeavour. Some of the major ones include:
- Mobile device management (MDM) software: security features usually offered by MDM software packages include encryption, controlled network access, app management and the ability to remotely track, lock and wipe devices
- Internet security software: since employee mobile devices tap into your company’s network mainly over the Internet, a solution like Bell Total Protection – which protects your business network from Internet-based threats – can boost BYOD security levels in the process
- Virtual private networks (VPN): a VPN encrypts data flowing over the Internet between staff devices and your company’s network
- Mobile security software: which scans mobile devices for bad stuff like viruses and malware
- Built-in device features: for example, BlackBerry’s Balance feature and Samsung’s Knox feature both help you keep business and personal data separate on the companies’ BlackBerry 10 and Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones, respectively
The bottom line
BYOD can bring a number of benefits to your business, but it’s important to take proactive steps to ensure your business is secure while supporting BYOD. An accurate view of where you’re starting from, strong security technology and smart BYOD practices are all necessary ingredients to enhance BYOD security.
Once you’ve put in the effort, you’ll be able to reap the rewards that BYOD can bring to businesses, including increased productivity, cost savings and greater job satisfaction for your staff.
What do you see as the greatest security risk in your company’s BYOD situation? How many of the tips or tools here have you already implemented at your business? Share your views in our comments section below.