Bring Your Own Device: Tips for Overcoming Barriers to a Smooth BYOD Program

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a concept that took hold after the invention of the smartphone. When phones got smarter, software developers began creating apps for those phones. Over time, mobile device use has overtaken some desktop use at work.

According to Microsoft, mobile devices make up about 60% of the endpoints in a company network. They also handle about 80% of the workload; however, they’re often neglected when it comes to strong cybersecurity measures.

This is especially true with employee-owned mobile devices. BYOD differs from corporate-owned mobile use programs. Instead of using company tools, employees are using their personal devices for work. Many businesses find this the most economical way to keep their teams productive.

Purchasing phones and wireless plans for staff is often out of reach financially. It can also be a pain for employees to carry around two different devices, personal and work.

It’s estimated that 83% of companies have some type of BYOD policy.

You can run BYOD securely, but only if you have some best practices in place. Too often, business owners don’t even know all the devices that are connecting to business data or which ones may have data stored on them.

Firewell Technology Solutions recommends these tips to overcome the security and challenges of BYOD. These should help you enjoy a win-win situation for employees and the business.

Define Your BYOD Policy

If there are no defined rules for BYOD, then you can’t expect the process to be secure. Employees may leave business data unprotected. Or they may connect to public Wi-Fi and then enter their business email password, exposing it.

If you allow employees to access business data from personal devices, you need a policy. This policy protects the company from unnecessary risk. It can also lay out specifics that reduce potential problems. For example, detailing the compensation for employees that use personal devices for work.

Keep Your Policy “Evergreen”

As soon as a policy gets outdated, it becomes less relevant to employees. Someone may look at your BYOD policy and note that one directive is old. Because of that, they may think they should ignore the entire policy.

Make sure that you keep your BYOD policy “evergreen.” This means updating it regularly if any changes impact those policies.

Use VoIP Apps for Business Calls

Before the pandemic, 65% of employees gave their personal phone numbers to customers. This often happens due to the need to connect with a client when away from an office phone. Clients also may save a personal number for a staff member. For example, when the employee calls the customer from their own device.

Customers having employees’ personal numbers is a problem for everyone. Employees may leave the company, and no longer answer those calls. The customer may not realize why.

You can avoid the issue by using a business VoIP phone system. These services have mobile apps that employees can use. VoIP mobile apps allow employees to make and receive calls through a business number.

Create Restrictions on Saved Company Data

Remote work has exasperated the security issue with BYOD. While BYOD may have meant mobile devices in the past, it now means computers too. Remote employees often will use their own PCs when working outside the office.

No matter what the type of device, you should maintain control of business data. It’s a good idea to restrict the types of data that staff can store on personal devices. You should also ensure that it’s backed up from those devices.

Require Device Updates

When employee devices are not updated or patched, they invite a data breach. Any endpoint connected to your network can enable a breach. This includes those owned by employees.

It can be tricky to ensure that a device owned by an employee is kept updated. Therefore, many businesses turn to endpoint management solutions. An endpoint device manager can push through automated updates. It also allows you to protect business data without intruding on employee privacy.

The monitoring and management capabilities of these tools improve security. This includes the ability to safelist devices. Safelisting can block devices not added to the endpoint manager.

Include BYOD in Your Offboarding Process

If an employee leaves your company, you need to clean their digital trail. Is the employee still receiving work email on their phone? Do they have access to company data through persistent logins? Are any saved company passwords on their device?

These are all questions to ask when offboarding a former staff member. You should also make sure to copy and remove any company files on their personal device. Additionally, ensure that you deauthorize their device(s) from your network.

 

Let Us Help You Explore Endpoint Security Solutions

We can help you explore solutions to secure a BYOD program. We’ll look at how your company uses personal devices at your business and recommend the best tools. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Making Your Mobile Devices Safe From Cyberattacks: The 9 Best Practices

The reality is, mobile devices are less safe than desktop computers. Boosting security on such devices is essential if you use them in business.

Technological breakthroughs have streamlined your operations in several ways. Primarily, you can now use mobile devices to make your communication and data sharing more convenient.

But this technological advancement also means that information on your team members’ mobile devices is no longer limited to just phone numbers and contacts: they now contain much more significant data, such as emails, passwords, and other sensitive account details.

That’s why Firewell Technology Solutions believes keeping those mobile devices secure is key to shielding your reputation and minimizing the risk of losing money.

Unfortunately, the protection of tablets and smartphones against cyberattacks isn’t as robust as that of desktops and laptops. Anti-malware applications may be present, but they’re not as powerful as their computer counterparts. In addition, many devices don’t support certain measures and applications that companies develop to enhance business security.

Fortunately, you can still implement robust safety measures to protect your smartphones and tablets.

This article will cover the nine best practices Firewell Technology Solutions endorses in improving cybersecurity on mobile devices.

The Nine Practices

Practice #1 – Establish a Sound Security Policy

Before issuing tablets or smartphones to your teams, create an effective usage policy. Define rules about acceptable use and determine the penalties for violating them.
Your employees must be aware of the security risks and measures that can help them reduce the risks. They should know that they are the first line of defense against cybercrime.
Furthermore, be sure to develop a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy if you permit your team to use a personal device for business. Consider including the following in your company policy:

  • Requirements for the installation and remote software wiping on any personal device that stores or accesses company data
  • Employee training and education on safeguarding company information when using wireless networks on their mobile devices
  • Data protection methods that include automatic locking or other security measures applicable after long inactivity periods
  • Protocols for lost and stolen devices
  • The use of security software and antivirus platforms
  • Backup requirements

Practice #2 – Ensure the Operating System is Up-to-date

Updating Android and iOS operating systems improves overall user experience, but their most significant role is in addressing security vulnerabilities. 

Therefore, install updates as soon as the developer rolls them out to reduce exposure to cybersecurity threats. Delaying it may give criminals enough time to attack your weaknesses and take advantage of outdated operating systems.

Practice #3 – Enable Password Protection

 

A complex password or PIN can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing mobile devices. Besides using alphanumeric combinations, you can also use facial or fingerprint recognition, depending on what suits your employees.

If you opt for digits and letters, don’t share the combination with people outside your company. On top of that, be sure that your staff doesn’t store them on their phones. Unmarked folders and physical wallets are a much safer option.

Practice #4 – Install Business Programs Only

Lenient download policies can allow your team members to install non-business apps. Downloading such apps might seem harmless, but they are also infamous for their harmful advertising codes and many other threats.

To mitigate this risk, tell your employees they can only download and use apps necessary for their roles.

Practice #5 – Avoid Public WiFi Connections

Your team may need to use public Wi-Fi networks in emergencies to send crucial emails or schedule a meeting. However, connecting to such networks can expose confidential company information to cybercriminals using the same network.

The easiest way to minimize this risk is to provide a high-quality internet plan that features roaming services for your remote workers. 

But if there’s no way to avoid public Wi-Fi connections, a reputable virtual private network (VPN) or secure global network (SGN) may do the trick. It can help shield your data by creating direct, secure links from your location to the intended website. 

Practice #6 – Leverage Phone Tracking

Losing company-issued mobile devices is unfortunate, but it’s not the end of the world. 

Enabling Android Phone Tracker, Find My Phone on iOS, or other device-tracking software can help locate your lost smartphones. Some programs also enable you to remove data on your stolen devices remotely. 

Installing these apps takes a couple of minutes and gives you much-needed peace of mind. With it, even if your staff loses their mobile device, cybercriminals are less likely to get their hands on the content.

Practice #7 – Incorporate MDM (Mobile Device Management) Software

For even more security, you may want to integrate with reliable MDM. It’s an excellent way to separate personal and business information while allowing your team members to set up robust security measures on their devices.

In most cases, cloud-based software is the most affordable, flexible, and manageable type of MDM. Many platforms let you check out device information, update and manage apps, configure your devices, create usage restrictions, and remove content remotely.

If possible, implement MDM software that enforces security measures across all devices. As previously mentioned, this can include data encryption, strong passwords, and setting up containers to separate personal information from enterprise data.

Practice #8 – Screen Messages Carefully

Cybercriminals frequently employ SMS phishing to trick your team into clicking dangerous links. They pose as someone credible, asking your staff to share confidential information.

If your employees encounter such messages, they should delete them or alert the IT department. Another great idea is to avoid opening the SMS and block the sender.

Practice #9 – Blocking and Safelisting

Many threats can compromise your company due to employee errors. For example, a team member may not realize they’re downloading a malicious app that allows thieves to steal data from their mobile devices.

Blocking and safelisting can enable you to protect your employees from these risks by determining which sites and apps are safe.

On one hand, blocking certain applications can give your IT department peace of mind and alert them when someone tries to access those applications.

On the other hand, whitelists can work great for highlighting the tools your team should prioritize over social media and games.

Don’t Drop Your Guard

Limiting security to your desktop computers and laptops is a disaster waiting to happen.

Your employees may still use their mobile devices to send emails and share sensitive information. That’s why shielding them from cybercriminals should be your top priority; moreover, Firewell Technology Solutions encourages you to develop a strict usage policy and to follow other recommended practices to make your team’s smartphones and tablets virtually impervious to data theft.

Get in touch with us today for even more cybersecurity tips. We can schedule a non-salesy chat to help you identify and address any potential security risks.

Article with small modifications used with permission from The Technology Press.