BYOD, or bring your own device, allows employees and other affiliates to use their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for enterprise data and applications. A BYOD strategy allowing it to use the latest technology without further expenditure or management. What is BYOD, and what does BYOD mean for your business?
What Are the Risks of BYOD?
As one would expect, the risk of any BYOD strategy is security. External devices are an obvious security risk for many reasons, with ease of loss, accessing questionable internet content, and lack of security software among the concerns. Unfortunately, employees may not take enough security precautions, exposing a business to harmful apps and malware. When you begin to examine the plethora of mobile devices and cloud services currently in use, network discovery and compliance become more significant issues.
Many cloud services used by an individual can open them up to attacks that can then target that device’s access to sensitive company data and applications. The crux of the issue is maintaining adequate security while not imposing an undue burden on the users. Furthermore, troubleshooting technical issues takes on additional layers of complexity due to various devices now accessing the network and enterprise solutions.
How Do You Build a BYOD Strategy?
If your company does not implement a BYOD strategy, you’re not doing anything to curtail the implementation of personal devices. Instead, ignoring it in this fashion opens you up to the risks noted above. It’s imperative to analyze the use of personal devices and implement a strategy that balances mitigating risks with increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. Also, without a carefully implemented BYOD strategy, the cost savings gained by users working with their own devices will be offset or superseded by increased IT support and security costs.
Although it may seem a daunting task, you can create a viable strategy for reducing security risks and management headaches while maintaining increased user satisfaction and productivity. Explore the following 10 steps you can take to get going:
1. Establish a Core Team
- Creating a small team dedicated to BYOD implementation and management should be the first step. This team can analyze the current BYOD environment, establishing realistic and attainable goals while maintaining individual and organizational advantages. This team should be a multi-departmental team with information security, IT, and compliance personnel who use technology in this fashion, including HR and legal professionals.
2. Set Goals
- This effort should balance governance, empowerment, and enablement and ensure the goals align with specific business objectives.
3. Analyze Current BYOD Usage
- To perform an analysis, ask individuals from any department how they’re using their devices. This usage would also include personal cloud services and applications, the technological capabilities of those using technology, and what employees think should help them be more productive and efficient. Keep the tone positive and collaborative to avoid early resistance.
4. Determine Risk Threshold
- Using a vulnerability assessment and the various security and compliance requirements your business, data, and devices may be subjected to, determine your risk threshold and compare it to how employees are currently using devices.
5. Build Your Strategy
- Now that you have the goals determined and knowledge gathered, it’s time to design the strategy. The strategy and its components must contain the necessary resources, such as technology, funds, and staff, and processes along with the policies to guide them, including enforcement.
6. Define Policies
- Your policies should detail which departments and employees within your company can use your BYOD strategy, including the levels of access and types of equipment allowed. Determine what is acceptable use and define the unacceptable use of devices. Clearly define password requirements and what to do if a device is stolen, lost, or hacked. Any exceptions, as well as penalties for not following the policy guidelines, should also be included.
7. Identify Processes
- With the policies set, develop processes that will implement them effectively. Implementation and enforcement are also aspects that need defined processes to enact. Also, those creating the BYOD strategy should outline procedures to handle new and departing employees.
8. Plan for Resource Acquisition and Deployment
- You’ll want to include the necessary technological tools to enact the policies, perform the processes, and involve the people to manage them. This component should include BYOD tooling to protect the network and data from external mobile devices’ inherent security threats. Do your research on the tools available and choose the ones that fit your goals and overall strategy.The roles and responsibilities and the people given these duties are as important as the technology solutions used. Incorporating appropriate changes and the flexibility to adapt roles and create new ones as needs arise are crucial to a successful BYOD strategy.
- Educating people about the policies and processes is undoubtedly essential, but they must also buy into your ideas for this strategy to work. To buy in, they need to understand not only the what and how but also the why. They need to understand the reasoning and rationale.You can have training or online webinars. Illustrate what can go wrong if employees don’t follow the policies. Discuss the damage that data theft can do to customers and the company itself. Finally, focus on protecting the company as well as the data.
10. Include Constant Revisions of Your Strategy
- The rapid growth and evolution of technology demand that companies continually revise and upgrade their strategies. Regular vulnerability assessments and reviewing the resources, policies, and processes currently in use should be done at least once a year, optimally in a more dynamic way, with relevant changes occurring in real time.
Whether you want it to or not, BYOD is happening. It is far better to accept that as fact and implement a strategy to manage the BYOD culture effectively. Robust policies, resources, processes, and complete education will help you build an effective mechanism for ensuring security across the organization and individuals. A well-executed plan with input from users in all departments who will follow your BYOD strategy can help you generate a balance of usability and security.
BYOD is one way to save time and money. If you’d like to discuss other ways that vCom Solutions can help you save both, contact us today.