How to stay safe and secure in a BYOD world
Three challenges to overcome to protect your device, your company and yourself.
Once upon a time, we brought work home with us. Today we bring home to work…at least in terms of our phones, tablets and laptops. It’s a BYOD (bring your own device) world we live in, allowing businesses and employees the flexibility to access office data whenever and wherever they need it. That’s a great benefit for most company personnel…but for system administrators and IT teams, not so much. These are just a handful of the challenges that must be faced in order for businesses and workers in the age of BYOD.
Develop a BIA
BIA is a Business Impact Analysis and it helps you identify where your vulnerabilities are, calculate downtime cost and assess the maximum outage you can endure before feeling the effects of it. Conducting a BIA makes you think about what could actually happen during an unplanned downtime and to plan accordingly.
1. Physical Security
Before BYOD, all company-owned and operated machinery lived in one physical place. The building and each room in it were secured to a certain standard and the machines inside all had to be locked or shut down when not in use. In today’s mobile workforce, devices travel through multiple locations every day, which increases the risk of a stolen device or someone using a flash drive to install a virus or remove confidential files.
This places the protection of the device and its contents squarely on the owner’s shoulders rather than the company’s. If you are a mobile employee, you must protect your devices the same way you would protect personal valuables such as your wallet, passport, or confidential documents. Make sure you use complex passwords, lock your devices, and keep them within reach to maintain the physical security of your device outside of a secure building.
If a BYOD device has a cracked screen or the touchpad no longer works, these repairs or replacements are the responsibility of the individual. Companies will not guarantee, repair, or support a physical device they did not purchase and issue to you. Many companies will provide peripherals to improve your work experience while you are in certain locations, but they are on loan to you only for that day or assignment.
2. File Sharing
Whether you are working from a corporate office or from another location, you will need access to various files and folders. Email is not a secure way to share files, even with the most sophisticated encryption software. To ensure secure access to the company file system, users must access the file share via a virtual desktop or terminal services style session.
3. Device Digital Security
This includes anti-virus software and mobile device management (MDM) applications, which contain corporate data such as email, documents, and applications in an encrypted space to ensure separation from personal data. This seriously decreases the possibility of malware contamination between data sets. When you add other layers of security such as anti-virus to both personal and corporate information, you further decrease the possibility of malware contamination.
These three challenges are only the tip of the iceberg; each one can also be broken down into multiple pieces that each has its own problems. One of the most important things to remember is that you should work with your IT director and system administrators to follow your company’s BYOD policy to the best of your ability. By doing this, you ensure the digital support network they provide stays intact and minimizes the risk to the whole company from one improperly managed device. It also adds another layer of protection to your personal information that you might not have considered doing otherwise.