If your business is considering a Bring Your Own Device environment, there’s a great deal of security preparation work to do beforehand. A successful BYOD strategy is all about finding the sweet spot of control, where your business is able to protect itself from digital threats while allowing its staff as much device freedom as possible.
A successful approach is part technology and part human, which requires hardware, software and policy solutions to balance flexibility and protection. Your business should take the following factors into consideration when developing a strategy. Your plan should aim to prevent things from going wrong — and limit the scope of the damage when they do.
Establish a Security-Minded Business Culture and Implement a BYOD Policy
Implementing BYOD begins before an employee connects the first device: It starts with culture. Under BYOD, your staff won’t be able to monitor employee devices to the same degree compared with work-provided devices, so security responsibility shifts to the employee.
Your workplace should implement an IT Security Culture Plan to get employees into the personal responsibility mindset. Additionally, your workplace will need to flesh out a BYOD company policy that establishes best practices for daily use, policies for handling exiting employees and set restrictions. Using a Mobile Device Management Service may streamline the process for your business concerning mobile device security exploits.
Employees will need to be mindful of keeping security software running and updated as well as installing all security-related patches for all programs on their devices. Your company’s BYOD policy also should touch on securing devices for off-location Wi-Fi use. In addition, the policy should establish sensible restrictions on Operating Systems and platforms: For example, don’t ban Windows 10 because your company loves Apple, but feel free to ban Windows XP because it is old and insecure.
Switch to Cloud Apps
BYOD will likely make switching to cloud app versions of the software your company uses in daily work far more appealing. Cloud apps will run the latest, most secure version automatically, so your employees won’t have to worry about installing updates to protect their devices. Making the switch to cloud apps is a decision on its own; however, it is closely related to BYOD security, and your business may benefit from addressing both workplace shifts at the same time.
Secure the Network and Isolate BYOD Devices as Necessary
BYOD devices create new IT security challenges. Unsecured devices can wreak all sorts of havoc on the network, including spreading malware. Your IT staff should configure employee devices for BYOD use by performing tasks like installing security software, implementing encryption and containerizing devices.
As for the network itself, your IT staff will likely need to introduce new security access levels and require access credentials for more situations than before.
Consider setting up a secondary network for BYOD devices, especially for employees who essentially use the network as a gateway to the internet and printer access. If the employee does not need access to the LAN, NAS, etc., don’t grant it.
Your business can also look at VPNs or desktop virtualization to streamline the process.
Configuring a secondary network might be a good idea from a traffic/infrastructure standpoint, as BYOD often means seeing an uptick in the total number of connected devices. The secondary network will help limit damage when something goes wrong. If your employees are bringing IoT devices, which are inherently far less secure than computers and smartphones, the secondary network will save your workplace a lot of headaches.