Having a remote or hybrid work setup has a lot of benefits. It keeps the company running while also giving your team flexibility and more control over their time to have a work-life balance.
It may seem straightforward: have everyone work online and have a productivity app that keeps everyone on track. However, companies need to be vigilant when it comes to how their data travels online. Especially when the company has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.
Read on to learn 6 steps to develop a successful policy that can keep your company’s data secure on your team’s personal devices!
Why Mobile Security is Important
Data security is crucial for all companies. Devices, like laptops and smartphones, store a lot of sensitive information.
For remote and hybrid working teams, mobile access to corporate resources is crucial to getting work done and achieving team goals. A lot of corporate data are confidential. There are the employees’ personal data, passwords, bank account details, and all kinds of client information.
Mobile security is key in risk management. Hackers are very creative when it comes to trying to gain access to these files. They will do just about anything to find and get data they can exploit. There are four types of attacks they can use: OS attacks, app attacks, malware-related attacks, and communication-based attacks.
Cyberattacks can be avoided if everyone in the company does their part by staying vigilant and doing regular security maintenance with the IT team.
Staying educated about the ways the team could be targeted by cyberattacks will help them avoid falling victim to such. Complying with IT protocols makes sure their devices are updated with the latest security systems for that extra layer of protection.
It only takes one gap in one device’s security for things to start unraveling and soon you find yourself dealing with a data breach. The best case scenario is it’s just a nuisance and inconvenience, the worst case scenario is it costs your company a lot of money in damages.
How to Secure Your Team’s Devices
1. Define the company’s BYOD security policy
Having a well-defined BYOD security policy is an important step in maintaining company security when integrating the team’s personal devices for work.
It is also best to have a BYOD policy that addresses the concerns of various company departments, employees, and stakeholders. This way, you create an effective policy that supports everyone in the team.
The security policy should clearly define the acceptable applications and assets employees are permitted to access. It should also list the kinds of devices employees can use and the corresponding minimum required security controls for these devices.
Device authentication and other company-provided components should be included in the policy. There should also be a section on the company’s rights for altering the device, such as the remote wiping for lost or stolen devices.
The police should also clearly define the ownership of apps and data, and the permitted and prohibited reimbursement of devices. There should also be IT support for employees when connecting to the company network, applications, and support for resolving conflicts between the company and personal applications.
You should also include the following: password provisions, privacy provisions, data transfer provisions, paper maintenance/updates, common sense provisions, upon termination, data wipe procedures, and accountability provisions.
2. Conducting proper device authentication
While employees are allowed to use their own devices to work, there should still be clear rules as to what kind of phones or computer operating systems are allowed.
This is to make sure that the device itself is equipped with updated security measures and is compatible with the added safety measures your IT has for the said devices.
After the employee’s device is given the green light to be used for work, meeting the IT’s standards, it should also have permission to access the data either via PIN code management or multifactor authentication. This way, only the allowed devices truly have access.
3. Manage BYOD policy devices with an MDM
Using Mobile Device Management (MDM) on all devices that are given access to corporate data is crucial. It is an IT admin’s first line of defense when establishing security on mobile devices.
An MDM gives the company the ability to enforce security compliance controls on devices. The admin can configure the security settings to include:
- PIN code and device encryption
- blocklist and allowlist applications
- device feature permissions and restrictions
- data loss prevention configurations
- jailbreak/root detection and remediation
- enterprise wipe and complete reset of devices over the air
There are other higher-level security configurations you can consider if you feel like the data your company handles is extremely sensitive.
4. Set clear data loss prevention policies
Having a DLP policy and app protection can help prevent company data from being saved locally to the device. It makes sure nothing is copied and accessed by unmanaged or untrusted applications.
IT admins can also use MDM to restrict data transfer or the “open in” option when employees open up files and other data through cloud solutions.
5. Establish BYOD remote lock and device wipe policies
The remote lock and device wipe policies are in place to ensure that company data does not leak when untoward incidents happen involving the device. In the event of an employee losing a device or an employee going AWOL, the company can easily take action and secure its data.
Understandably, some people are uncomfortable with the idea of having someone have enough control over their devices that they can wipe out specific data from them. However, recent Google Android and Apple updates have made it possible to restrict how much an MDM platform can do to a personal device. This includes removing the ability to force a factory reset on the device.
6. Have a clear employee off-boarding plan
A BYOD policy gets tricky when an employee leaves the company. A clean off-boarding plan ensures that the company’s data and sensitive information are removed from the device. It also makes sure that the employee no longer has access to the company network or data moving forward.
Aside from the usual off-boarding process done by HR, IT also has to do its part in ensuring all company data remains secure.
This off-boarding plan could include having the employee temporarily surrender their device to IT to perform uninstallations of all apps and the corporate network. A remote lock and device wipe can be performed if the employee is not available to surrender it in person. All passwords and other authentication PINs must be updated too, so only those within the team can have access.
BYOD Security Policy Tips and Best Practices
Just like the best practices for sustainability, the best practices for security involve proactive measures.
Make sure your team keeps up with their devices’ software and antivirus program updates. This makes sure the device’s first line of defense against viruses and malware is always current and strong.
Keep your team informed about current threats and vulnerabilities. Educate them about ways they can help keep their devices safe such as choosing passwords carefully, only connecting to trustworthy internet networks, and the importance of software updates.
Another option to manage your whole operation is partnering with a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP). They can perform regular data backups, and in cases where an employee’s device is stolen or broken, you can have the peace of mind knowing they have everything safely backed up and can provide support 24/7.
Securing company data is a team effort. Having both the employees and the company do their part in keeping the devices safe for company work ensures that everything runs smoothly and all the data is safe and secure. Contact Nerds Support today for a free IT Consultation to learn how we can develop and implement a strategic BYOD policy for you!