The BYOD (bring your own device to work) trend has many benefits. Employees are happier when they’re using their own computer devices, and they also tend to be more productive because they can use their device to work outside of the office. They like the flexibility it provides them when using their own smartphones, laptops, and tablets at work, home or during travel.
Many Ottawa businesses are under pressure by their employees to implement BYOD policies. Has your small-to-medium sized business thought about implementing your own BYOD policy? If so, there are a few factors to consider first:
One of the most obvious problems when it comes to the BYOD trend is control. With a wide variety of devices running on different operating systems, it’s difficult for an IT department to make and enforce uniform regulations.
In order for your IT department to avoid security threats imposed by a BYOD work environment, they must have an extensive knowledge on the various platforms, devices, and operating systems your employees use.
Employees may bring consumer apps into the work place; as a result some businesses create their own app store to take control of the software that’s being downloaded onto BYOD hardware.
Both the Apple App Store and Google Play provide various apps for protection against malware and viruses, but it’s still a smart idea for businesses to make use of a private enterprise app store, in order to manage all of the apps that are being downloaded. However, many small businesses don’t have the resources available to create their own apps and app stores.
While implementing your BYOD policy, ensure that you’re covering all aspects to protect your business; such as security, protecting your resources, and controlling the expenses associated with BYOD implementation. It’s important for administrators to define any restrictions, including what apps can and cannot be downloaded.
In addition, the types of devices that are allowed onto your network should be limited to keep management as simple as possible. Include your list of permitted devices and operating systems in your company’s BYOD policy.
Always keep in mind that once you’ve brought a device into a corporate environment, all data on the device will be going through your corporate bandwidth. This can be a huge threat when an employee decides to use that bandwidth for their personal use, such as downloading movies or music.
It’s important to track all talk, text, roaming and data usage. By monitoring the use of these features, you’ll be able to spot any misuse or security threats, as well as prevent a costly bill for using excessive data bandwidth usage.
A common mistake made by many companies is leaving the security to the end users. BYOD devices should have corporate data stored in separate applications, and a password must be attached to protect the data at all times.
Initially, you should implement various policies and tools to deal with the security of mobile devices being under the control of a private user, as opposed to your business.
According to a survey done by an Internet security company ESET, customer data is currently only being encrypted on employees’ devices one-third of the time! As a result, the IT department has a much more difficult time trying to protect customer data.
While the device belongs to the individual, company data is still stored on that device and proper security procedures must be implemented.
Often, employee’s devices are outside of the company’s firewall. Once the device has become corrupted, an attacker can easily gain access to the company’s network, viewing all sorts of files and confidential data.
Jail broken and rooted devices are dangerous threats to the security of company data, because they essentially bypass the security mechanisms on the device, which allows the user to download any app onto the device.
It’s simple for potential hackers to find a jail broken app behind a corporate firewall. Once this happens, the hacker has complete access into your corporation’s data. Avoid these types of devices, and enforce configuration settings to protect your organization from malware and potential attackers.
In conclusion, when it comes to the BYOD trend, there are many security concerns and important factors to consider. However, companies can enjoy the benefits of BYOD, as long as they have an extensive policy and enforcement in place that addresses all of the potential security risks. And be sure to educate all of your employees about the reasons behind the policies, if you do, you’ll get greater cooperation from them.
Published On: 16th September 2013 by Ernie Sherman.