Unless you’ve been working under a rock in a faraway universe, your company is probably dealing with BYOD (bring your own device) challenges.
Companies know they can’t just ignore BYOD. It’s common knowledge that employees will figure out how to get access to corporate information with or without explicit permission.
But there’s an upside. Many employees willingly add hours to their work days when you permit them to use their personal devices on the job. You can benefit from the increased productivity and avoid BYOD security pitfalls if you follow a few best practices.
Six tips to avoid BYOD disaster
- Set boundaries. Make sure your employees know what you expect of them.
- Distinguish different types of data. Require higher clearance levels for highly sensitive data.
- Use a private cloud for tighter IT control. Separate corporate data from the device, but keep it within your firewall.
- Use encryption and anti-virus software. Accept that your employees may use Facebook and other social platforms during the work day. But use encryption and anti-virus software to protect your content.
- Implement secure IT. Use data loss prevention software to help curb bad behavior and recover from data theft.
- Choose the data plans employees use. Share the expense and keep good records.
User vs. device strategies
BYOD can save money for your business. But it can also land you in the news for all the wrong reasons. You have a few choices about how to approach BYOD and protect your brand:
- A user-centered approach enables you to control information access based on user permissions.
- A device-focused approach places the focus on the hardware. This strategy works best when you offer the devices employees are permitted to use.
- No approach at all may put you at a competitive disadvantage.
Respect employee privacy and stay compliant
What is BYOD if it’s not a way for employees to work with company and personal information using the same device? This means you have to protect employee data — as well as your corporate data. To do this, keep them separate from the beginning.
BYOD tends to blur the line between an employee’s work and personal life. If you permit hourly employees to use their personal devices to work extra hours, prepare to compensate them for overtime.
Make sure you understand the privacy regulations that govern personal devices used for work. Failure to comply with them could create problems and result in company fines.
Protect your data
Corporate data that resides on a personal device is very vulnerable to outside threats:
- Employees sometimes use their devices to visit unsecured sites, which magnifies the potential for infection by a virus. Avoid most of those threats by keeping virus software up to date on the devices.
- Install a program that enables IT to delete your data if an employee loses the device.
- Better still; don’t store corporate data on the device. Use private cloud storage or desktop virtualization solutions to keep your data on a secure server in a protected data center.
With the right insight and preparation, you can avoid many BYOD disasters. The key is in knowing and planning ahead.