Since more and more businesses are allowing employees to use their own devices at the office and to work remotely from other locations, forward-thinking companies have begun issuing “bring your own device” policies. Here’s what that means.
What is a Bring your Own Device Policy?
A bring your own device (BYOD) policy will set some ground rules before employees begin using their personal devices on the company network. These rules will vary depending on each employee’s role in the business, but they’ll all have one common purpose: to maintain cybersecurity.
Why is it Important?
The increased accessibility of laptops, tablets and smartphones has changed the way people work. No longer do employees come to the office at 9 a.m., sit at their computer until 5 p.m. and then leave. Work is also done from home and in remote locations, like on business trips.
Since employees are using new devices to access business networks, it only makes sense to establish new rules governing their permissions.
4 Key Features of a Strong BYOD Policy
1. Specify which Devices are Supported
Define what the “own” in “bring your own device” means. Do you mean their actual, personal device? Or one issued by the company that they just bring back and forth between work and home? Be crystal clear.
Also, will you be supporting all brands of devices? Or will you only be supporting Microsoft products? Make this clear as well.
2. Establish a Company-Wide Security Policy
Once employees can use their own devices to access business data, it’s a good idea to reeducate them on basic security standards. This includes how to create strong passwords, how to spot common cyberattacks and more.
They should also be sure to keep their antivirus, antimalware and firewalls up-to-date at all times. Outdated security software is extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Finally, clearly establish which websites and applications are and aren’t acceptable to use on company time. When employees use their own devices, they may be more likely to check their social media, shop online and more.
3. Mobile Device Management
Mobile device management (MDM) software allows your company to monitor and secure any device that accesses your network. This will allow you to monitor who’s using what, helping you enforce your security policy.
4. Ownership of Data and Apps
Employee-owned devices will contain both personal and professional data. While on a regular work device, all data is fully-owned by the company, there’s a bit of a more gray area on employee-owned devices. You don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy.
Since it can be a bit complicated, establishing this piece of your BYOD policy will likely take a bit of negotiation between IT, management and employees. However, it will ensure all employees are safe, secure and compliant while accessing company data.