Don’t Launch a BYOD Policy Without First Reading This

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As the months pass, mobile devices are becoming more and more personal. They’re no longer tools we own; they’re part of who we are.

In order to reduce risk to your firm, yet keep your employees happy, you need to come up with a BYOD policy right away.

Six Tips for Establishing a Successful BYOD Policy

BYOD — which stands for “bring your own device”– is an all-encompassing term used by companies to describe the set of rules they have implemented to govern how employees use personal devices with relation to work.

As TechTarget’s Margaret Rouse explains, “The consumerization of IT has highlighted the need for bring-your-own-device policy development. Employees use their own PCs and mobile devices for business tasks whether their IT departments support them or not, and a BYOD policy can help control this usage and mitigate its security risks.”

From the business, it’s not safe to operate without such a policy. Not only does that give employees free rein to use their devices however they please, but it also opens your organization to incredible amounts of risk in what is a clearly hostile cyber environment.

1. Define “Bring Your Own Device”

Given the array of mobile devices and operating systems on the market, one person’s idea of BYOD might differ from the next. In order to remove confusion, both among employees and in the C-suite, it’s best to establish concrete parameters from the start.

“It’s important to decide exactly what you mean when you say ‘bring your own device,’ Jonathan Hassell writes for CIO.com. “Should you really be saying, bring your own iPhone but not your own Android phone? Bring your own iPad but no other phones or tablets? Make it clear to employees who are interested in BYOD which devices you will support; in addition to whatever corporate-issued devices you continue to deploy — and which you won’t.”

2. Educate Employees on Risks

Honestly, most employees don’t see the risks that threaten the organization from the outside. Many assume that everyone is just like they are, and have no concept of how hostile and aggressive the cyber enviornment really is.

In order to ensure you get employee buy-in for your BYOD policy, you should educate everyone on the various threats they face as individuals, and you could encounter as an organization. Not only will this help your team get on the same page, but it’ll also help people spot risks, threats, and scams they may encounter when they use various web-connected devices.

3. Be Prepared for Remote Working

In the environment of mobile devices and cyber security, remote work is one of the greatest challenges your outfit will have to address in its BYOD policy. It’s an inherently unsafe and risky practice for your employees to use personal devices for access to company data on networks that aren’t controlled by your organization.

Though you can’t eliminate risk entirely, you can dramatically reduce it. Whether a large percentage of your workforce is currently working remotely, or you have yet to go that route, you’d better be prepared for it. Remote working is likely to grow in the future, and it’s going to demand an increased emphasis on security.

Because you don’t want employees getting easy access to unsecured networks, your organization should adopt a mobile VPN solution that integrates with your existing network security policies and provides granular access to network resources, rather than singular access for the entire network.

If you want a simple solution that gives you one network and security infrastructure for mobile and fixed users, , a secure, SD-WAN service is the way to go.

4. Define Ownership of Applications and Data

One of the largest bones of contention with regard to BYOD policies is ownership of applications and data. Most employees totally understand that your organization owns the company data stored on their devices; but there’s a bit of a grey area when it comes to the employee’s personal content, such as like photographs, music, and other apps.

When a security threat is detected, your company may often feel the need to wipe a device clean. But this removes not just your company data, but also erases the employee’s personal content.

Does your BYOD policy clearly assert you have this right? And do employees understand they need to back up personal information if they want to keep it safe?

5. Have a Plan for Exiting Employees

Every BYOD policy needs to have a section that clearly outlines what happens when an employee leaves or is terminated. The language included in this section should explain how the removal of application, data, email access, and access to VPNs and WANs is to be handled. Assuming you conduct a full device wipe, employees should be instructed to back up personal content prior to handing over devices for review.

6. Enforce Your Policy With No Exceptions

Having a BYOD policy in place is vital, but it won’t have any value if your employees don’t take it seriously. It’s too easy to let things slip, especially when there aren’t any negative consequences for an action, but the failure to enforce rules renders your policy useless.

If you suspect you have to make an example of an employee for breaking a BYOD rule, you probably should. Administer discipline accordingly and make sure everyone knows you’re serious about enforcing all rules.

Take Your BYOD Policy Seriously

Although time may be of the essence, a BYOD policy isn’t something you want to rush to design and apply. You ought to take your time and develop a detailed policy that safeguards your company but also addresses employee concerns and promotes maximum productivity.

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