BYOD Security: The Ultimate Guide to Protecting Your Data

BYOD Security: The Ultimate Guide to Protecting Your Data

It’s 2020, and many organizations across the country are adopting BYOD policies. BYOD can be a great way to save money and increase employee productivity, but it also creates more opportunities for hackers to infiltrate your network. That’s why organizations need to pay attention to BYOD security. 

Why Do You Need a BYOD Security Policy?

Mobile devices are some of the most vulnerable pieces of technology we own because of how easily criminals can exploit them. Even if employees are only using their personal devices for sending and receiving business emails, this can open up the doorway to your entire network if not properly protected. So, today we are going to walk through BYOD security and how you can create a policy that will help keep every device at your organization secure. 

Creating Your BYOD Security Policy

When it comes to device security, your organization can’t be too careful. By putting together a BYOD policy, you will inform and educate your employees on when and how they can use their personal devices, along with what information can be stored. The more guidance and knowledge they have to keep their laptops, phones, and tablets protected, the better off your business will be.

Here are a few key pieces of any BYOD security plan to get you started.

1. Backup Device Data

One of the first BYOD security practices you should put in place is backups. Many organizations already understand the power of backing up their data and often have technology in place for their internal systems. 

However, mobile devices are easy to miss. This creates problems because many employees have valuable company information stored on their laptop, tablet, or phone. You can ensure your business is safe by backing up the data from every device used in your organization. 

2. Educate Employees on Connecting to Wi-Fi

Another thing to think about when you are creating your BYOD security policy is Wi-Fi. As individuals, we often don’t hesitate to connect to public Wi-Fi networks. Whether we are at a coffee shop or an airport, we often view the wide availability of public networks as convenient and beneficial. 

However, public Wi-Fi can pose great risks. A device connected to an open wireless network can be a gateway for malware into your organization.

So, train your employees on what types of Wi-Fi networks are acceptable to connect to. Make sure their device is not set up to automatically connect to open networks. This type of education is a critical component of BYOD safety and keeping your systems secure. 

3. Create a Password Policy

Passwords, passwords, passwords. It’s one of the most fundamental and easiest safeguards for a secure organization, but also sometimes the most overlooked. For an organization utilizing BYOD, passwords are especially important.

Laptops, tablets, and mobile devices can be easily lost or stolen. If these devices are not protected with passwords, anyone can get into the technology. Obviously, this is not something your organization wants. 

So, create a password policy for all the devices used within your organization. Ensure your employees understand and set up multi-factor authentication. Determine password requirements and expiration timeouts. Even more, educate employees on what makes a good password and what doesn’t. 

This small step can be a big part of protecting your organization.

4. Be Able to Wipe Devices Remotely

We’ve noted the realistic possibility of devices getting lost or stolen, and if this happens, you need a way to wipe the data from these devices. Even if a device has a strong password, this is only the first line of defense. Hackers may still be able to find their way in and get their hands on your company’s information. 

To prevent this, make sure every device is equipped with some sort fo software that will allow you to wipe them remotely. That way, you won’t have to worry about the wrong person getting ahold of your company’s data. 

5. Keep anti-virus, operating system, and other software up-to-date

Another essential element of any BYOD security policy is keeping devices up-to-date. From the operating system to any type of software running on the device, employees should always ensure that the latest version is installed. 

Software updates often contain security patches that fix vulnerabilities found in the program. When not kept up-to-date, hackers can exploit these known holes, making their way into your systems. By keeping their laptops, phones, or other devices updated, employees provide additional protection for your organization. 

6. Use Mobile Device Management Software 

Lastly, but possibly most importantly, we always recommend utilizing mobile device management (MDM) software. MDM enables you and your team to configure security settings that will apply to all devices used in your organization.

You can use an MDM solution to apply many of the tips we’ve already talked about, such as setting password requirements and wiping device data remotely. MDM gives you more control over your security, while still allowing your employees the freedom and benefits a BYOD policy provides.  

If your organization uses Microsoft 365, you already have access to Intune, a great cloud-based management solution for mobile devices.

Conclusion

Do not overlook mobile and other devices at your organization. They can be easy targets for hackers to access your entire network if not properly protected. Creating a BYOD security policy will help everyone at your organization understand how to do their part to ensure your organization stays secure.