7 Essential Strategies for BYOD

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In today’s constantly connected world, employees want to leverage their own tablets, phones, laptops, and wearables for work. The trend called “BYOD” or “Bring Your Own Device” has left a lot of companies trying to figure out how to navigate these unsecured devices.

If your company is planning to implement a BYOD (bring your own device) policy; it’s important to thoroughly research and be prepared for the challenges and concerns that can arise from a security and IT support perspective. To minimize the potential for breaches, malware, and viruses, make sure your policy includes best practices and security measures such as requiring strong passcodes, multi-factor authentication, encryption, and idle timeout.

It’s essential that your company has an effective mobile device management solution in place that works closely with your organization’s wireless and security infrastructures. Choose a system with consistent user interfaces and centralized management to minimize administrative overhead. This allows the organization to offer a secure and reliable internet experience while also managing device and application settings to ensure data integrity and security.

For instance, a lot of cellphone users avoid using lock screens or passwords to access their phones. They prefer to “swipe and go”. That’s fine for them, but what happens when your employee’s phone is stolen and your company’s data are exposed? What happens when all of your employees want to bring their devices and flood the network to the point that it’s operating at the speed of dial-up?

Keys to implementing BYOD:

The role of the mobile device in the workplace has evolved. While some companies still desire the opportunity to fully control mobile devices and how their employees use them, others; embracing the opportunities to bring your own device (BYOD) strategies and the benefits they can deliver.

Getting to a place of harmony in the use of personally-owned mobile devices on the corporate network, however, has not been a smooth ride. While BYOD offers significant cost savings over previous methods, it isn’t an easy task to figure out how to enable users, regardless of device, and still, keep the network secure.

Instead of figuring it out along the way, several companies and their IT departments have opted to leverage the capabilities and controls available within mobile device management (MDM) software. MDM gives IT a great way to manage the various devices accessing the network without adding to the complexities already created by BYOD.

For smaller companies that may not want to implement a whole new software package, MDM providers are a good resource for enabling BYOD. No matter the size of a business, the goal is to ensure the benefits afforded through BYOD — such as lower cost, greater accessibility, better employee balance, and more — are not outweighed by the risks associated with the practice.

MDM providers can also be a good resource in the development of a mobile policy. This is valuable whether BYOD is an important corporate strategy or not. The policy should be relatively comprehensive and address such elements as:

  • Messaging use
  • Attachments
  • Security
  • Location services
  • Passwords
  • Allowed personal devices
  • Separation of personal and business data
  • Rules in regards to downloaded applications
  • Employee responsibilities
  • Business permissions
  • Agreement on terms between the business and its employees

While BYOD presents a new way to enable employees to stay connected at a lower price, it does come with its own set of risks and challenges. Putting a policy in place to address those factors is key to a successful implementation and long-term management. 

There are a number of issues that are presented by a BYOD environment. Yet, banning the use of personal devices is an unviable option. In today’s world, it’s almost expected that your employees can leverage their own devices at work – and they should be able to.

Fortunately, there are strategies that can create a safe BYOD environment. Here are 7:

1. Use windows authentication login
You’ll need to set up your network to include these devices. But you should know who is accessing your network. You can do that securely by allowing users to access company devices using a windows authentication login. This will allow the secure connection of user devices to the network.

2. Upgrade your network
Revamp the wireless network and your infrastructure to better accommodate the increased activity and number of devices. With older networks, you might experience lag time, poor connectivity, and security gaps. You can consult with an IT provider to get recommendations and build out the necessary solutions.

3. Enhance user passwords
Mobile devices themselves can pose risks if they fall into the wrong hands. Enforce policies that protect your company with complex passwords attached to their devices and the use of lock screens. Instead of 4-digit pins, users should have longer passwords or use biometrics to access their devices.

4. Mandate data removal
When phones are compromised, your company data could be exposed. Enforce automatic data wiping and deletion when the device is compromised. Also, require users to allow remotely wiping data from their device.

5. Use an active directory
Active directory puts you in the driver’s seat and allows you to create conditional access policies and control the authentication methods you make available to your users. You can create and deploy conditional access policies and control the type of authentication you use.

6. Review users
Monitor users and active accounts to maintain awareness of users and remove any potential users who should no longer have access, such as former employees. It also helps you spot any suspicious activity or potential issues with accounts.

7. Create separate networks
When you want to offer internet access to multiple devices and not allow access to secure networks or sensitive data, you can create a network for mobile device users that is separate from your secure network. This is a great option when you want to offer access to non-employees, such as customers or students.

Allowing a “BYOD” environment can be risky when it is done without proper precautions. And truthfully, this isn’t something you allow but something your employees take into their own hands. With the right policies and technology in place, you can create an environment that is both secure and flexible for anyone wanting to use their own devices.

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