Best practices for implementing a BYOD policy
While there are plenty of good arguments for adopting a BYOD policy in the workplace, there are undeniable risks in permitting employees access to sensitive data from personal devices.
It could, for example, increase the likelihood of security breaches and data leaks. That's because individual employees are unlikely to have the same level of IT security measures on their devices as a business would.
Giving employees the freedom to access business data from their personal devices can also raise the risk of someone taking critical data with them when they leave the business.
So, for a BYOD policy to be successful, a business must conduct a thorough risk assessment analysis. This helps identify key areas of concern and to implement best practices to control the use of personal devices. Here are our five tips.
1. Outline which devices are permitted
Some older smartphones, laptops or tablets may not support the basic level of security you require to keep your business data safe. With that in mind, it's important to specify which devices are allowed under your BYOD policy, including minimum operating system requirements.
2. Conduct user security training
Every employee should understand and follow cybersecurity best practices, including:
- using a complex, unique password on all devices
- enabling two-step verification for key accounts
- avoiding pop-ups, unknown emails and unverified attachments or links
- following company procedure for data storing and sharing
- enabling anti-virus and firewall protection on all devices.
3. Specify data ownership rules
Although it may seem obvious that your business owns the information stored on the servers of your employee's access, problems can arise if personal devices need to be wiped in the event of a data breach.
Your BYOD policy should clarify that you have the right to access and wipe data on personal devices in the event of a cybersecurity incident.
4. Define a service policy for employees' devices
Make sure employees understand the rules and boundaries around support for personal devices. Consider:
- What level of support will you provide to connect employees' devices to your network?
- What kind of support will you provide for updating or repairing devices?
- What will happen if a problem with a personal device is preventing an employee from accessing critical apps or data?
- When are employees responsible for managing their own devices?
Answering these questions up front in your BYOD policy can help avoid confusion when it comes to onboarding and handling device issues.
5. Implement an employee exit strategy
Consider what will happen when employees using their own devices leave the business. How will you enforce the removal of access tokens, email, data and other proprietary information?
Depending on your business requirements, this could be a case of disabling access as part of your employee exit checklist, or you might choose to do a full wipe of the device. If you decide to make wiping devices mandatory, you should also have a clear strategy in place for backing up and restoring employees' personal data.
With a strong policy in place, you can take advantage of all the benefits of BYOD while minimising the potential pitfalls.