The Reality of BYOD Security

It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO, CFO, CIO or the CBP (Chief Button Pusher), every one in any business is capable of unintentionally compromising security. Every business now deals with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) issues at some level and we’re all responsible – from the top on down. So how do you manage all that business data on everyone’s personal device and keep it safe?

You’ve got to walk the walk… It’s important for every employee to respect and be diligently mindful of the policies that are put in place. If you’re the one who dismissively downloads a seemingly harmless, un-authorized application on your phone, then you’re the one who could potentially lose your job if data is compromised. Policies are put in place to protect the company, but inevitably it protects the employee. How can we protect our vital work information while using the same device that we let our children borrow for long car rides?

Think about the other “secure” items in your life. If you have firearms in your home, you (hopefully) have them contained and locked. If you have cleaners, bug sprays or other contaminants, you have them contained in child-proof cabinets. If you have important legal papers, you most likely have them contained in a safe-deposit or firebox. But do you have important digital business documents, business applications or business designs on your device, mobile or other, and let anyone have access to the information that could potentially destroy or leak your work?

Why take the risk? There are various types Mobile Device Management (MDM) programs to compartmentalize, or contain, your work life from your home life. Keep your two lives separate on one device without fear of security issues if your phone is lost or stolen. At that point, all IT needs to do is shut that part off and wipe it clean. And if your 10 year old wants to play some games on your device, you and your work are secure.

MDM, now folded into overall Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), need not only be developed and policies drawn up, but also needs to be updated annually. Whether you have MDM in place now or not, it should always be considered as part of an ongoing management system. Policies can’t be put in place and left alone. Technology changes rapidly and new malware is produced faster than the products themselves are being produced. Annual upgrades and policy changes are key.

There isn’t one application or one policy that fits all businesses so you need to do some research. The MDM platform that works best for your business to successfully manage BYOD is something that can’t be glossed over. All employees can be helpful in drawing up policies if included in the conversation with the IT department. Every department has a different function and the IT group needs to know what is going to work, all around, so information in separate containers can still be shared. There are some basic core functions to consider in MDM:

  • Define your inventory of devices being used
  • Choose a platform that can encompass all devices with remote capabilities
  • Define the software to be distributed which includes applications
  • Consider what kind of security management is needed
  • Include all levels of data protection
  • Have help and support for your users available

These are general categories to consider with a myriad of sub-categories and options that are determined by whatever MDM will suit your business.

Don’t ignore or dismiss all the dangers in our new Bring Your Own Device world. We’re all held accountable for making sure our devices are secure to protect our work and home. Critically analyze and determine what’s being used, how it’s being used, how it can be potentially be compromised and what’s needed to prevent security leaks and potential loss of data.

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