If you’re like many organizations out there, you probably allow your employees to use their own devices for work purposes at least some of the time. If you do this, you’re part of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon that is revolutionizing the way in which employees work.

It’s easy to understand why enterprises large and small are embracing BYOD. It enhances flexibility, improves workplace satisfaction and reduces costs. However, at the same time, BYOD heightens security risks due to lost or stolen devices, SMSishing and dodgy applications – but to name a few. It’s no wonder, then, that 63% of organizations worry about data leakage via BYOD.

So, how can you reap the rewards of BYOD without forsaking security? You need a multi-faceted strategy.

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication for Workplace Applications

At the very least, your employees should secure their devices with a pass-code or biometrics like fingerprint or facial ID where possible. On top of this, for workplace applications, we advise bolstering security with multi-factor authentication (MFA).

This is a type of security solution that requires employees to verify themselves in two ways, such as with a password and PIN sent to them via text message on a separate device. MFA improves BYOD security because, should a hacker steal one of your people’s devices, they still won’t be able to access your corporate data and resources.

Deploy a VPN for Employees Working From Home

VPN stands for virtual private network. This form of solution enhances security in the ‘work from anywhere’ world by effectively creating an impenetrable tunnel between the corporate network and your employee’s device. If they’re accessing company applications from an airport, coffee shop or their home, a VPN prevents anyone else from spying on their communications, keeping your organization’s data safe.

Prohibit Access to Sensitive Data Based on User Identities

Your company’s data shouldn’t be open for any employee to access on any device. We recommend implementing user privileges to ensure that only authorized, trusted individuals access your sensitive information. For example, a graduate in the marketing department shouldn’t be able to get their hands on HR records. 

Bolster Your Network Security

Are you confident that your network is secure from today’s complex cyber threats? Even if your employees’ devices have the right security precautions in place, it won’t matter if your network is vulnerable to exploitation.

It’s therefore vital that, when you review BYOD security, you don’t do so in isolation. You should take stock of your organization’s overall security maturity and put holistic measures in place to keep your data, devices and network safe from hackers.

Implement Auto-Patching Where Possible

The applications and devices your employees use will receive frequent updates. These are what’s known as patches and they often contain vital security fixes that keep hackers at bay. We’re all guilty of clicking the ‘remind me later’ button at some point or other, but this is dangerous.

With that in mind, we encourage you to mandate that your employees put on the auto-update setting for application and device updates.

Craft An Offboarding Strategy

Employees come and go. We’re also in the period of the great resignation, where employees are changing jobs at a higher rate than ever before. In this paradigm, ensuring you’ve designed a secure offboarding experience is paramount. Otherwise, your employees could leave your company with a hefty amount of lucrative data, which they could then share with your competitors.

Even if your leaving employees don’t have bad intentions, any data you lose control of puts you at risk of being at odds with compliance regulations like the GDPR. So, make sure to put a structured plan in place in which you revoke employee access to company applications in the time leading up to their last days. You should also check their devices to ensure they haven’t downloaded sensitive information or intellectual property without your permission.

Consider Deploying MDM

For companies in highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance, or those that work with sensitive data, it may be wise to deploy a mobile device management (MDM) solution to bolster BYOD security. MDM works by installing an agent on your employee’s devices. This agent enforces data security policies and access controls, preventing your employees from using data in unexpected ways.

Some MDM solutions even feature remote wiping capabilities, enabling you to completely erase a device in the event that it is lost or stolen.

Start Your BYOD Security Journey Today!

For organizations without an IT team, or with only a small number of staff members, implementing and managing a secure BYOD program can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. ECN IT is here to help you unlock the productivity benefits of BYOD, while also boosting security. Find out more about how we can help you today.