BYOD: Secure Employee Devices in the Digital Workplace

Friday, February 19, 2016 by under Audit/Compliance, Data & Cyber Security/Hacking, IoT (Internet of Things), Personnel/Customer Safety

In the digital age, employees will often want to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, hosting critical information that could be detrimental to your business if breached.

This post overviews security risks associated with BYOD in the workplace and how to avoid potential threats.

Understand the Critical Risk Factors

Technology can provide your business with many benefits, such as simplicity, increased efficiency and enhanced communication.

However, when you encourage employees to bring their own devices, you can run a greater risk of critical data being compromised for several reasons, including:

  • Device incompatibility with company equipment or security devices due to manufacturer, model, make or year.
  • Unclear responsibilities and regulations in relation to "data breach and recovery."
  • Frequent use of devices outside of the workplace.
  • Lack of technology, infrastructure or application customization.

Risks associated with the BYOD business trend include:

  • Use of public or unsecured Wi-Fi when employees work remotely or outside of your business’ network.
  • Lack of password or passcode usage.
  • Applications, such as email or company software, left unprotected.
  • Failure to install/update malware and antivirus software on a regular basis.
  • Unintentional website visits with malicious malware.
  • Easy access to devices if lost, stolen or unattended.

Educate Your Employees on BYOD Security

Prevent risks with proper precautions. If your business has a BYOD policy, include the following to ensure maximum security:

  • Require password protection. If storing company information on devices, require use of unique passwords or passcodes.
  • Create guidelines. Establish regulations within employee contracts that ensure they abide by data protection and security-oriented requirements, such as who to contact and steps to follow if devices are lost or stolen.
  • Educate employees. Help employees understand the importance of security by bringing to light the damages they could cause if precautions are not taken. For example, if employee devices are connected to security equipment, such as surveillance cameras or access control, unprotected devices could provide intruders with easy business access and valuable insight.
  • Require anti-virus and malware software. Require employees to install anti-virus and/or malware software on their devices for an extra layer of protection.

To effectively train your employees on BYOD safety, work with your IT team and security vendor to uncover all risks that need to be addressed.

Does your business enable the BYOD trend? Share with us in the comments below.

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