When a business decides to implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, MSP security must stay a step ahead. Many businesses have moved to mobility to cut costs on hardware and allow employees to work with a familiar and comfortable device of their choice. But in order for BYOD to work, you must use special tools and policies to avoid the vulnerabilities that multiple various mobile devices present.
Remote Access and Productivity
BYOD is a practical choice for businesses that operate in multiple places. Firms can save money on office space, energy, and equipment when you let employees use their own personal devices. It’s also an excellent solution for sales agents whose job largely consists of off-site meetings with clients and prospects. BYOD integrates with a cloud solution that allows each worker to sign in with a password from any location at any time. This flexibility can potentially improve the company’s productivity and profits.
But one of the issues you must address before implementation is whether or not the administrator will have access to each device and how much space on the device will be partitioned for corporate vs. personal use. You will need a centralized platform with security software capable of identifying and monitoring all devices that have permission for access. Mobile device management (MDM) software will provide this solution. Other considerations include:
- Applications that can be used or are banned
- What websites team members are allowed to access
- Data that can or cannot be accessed
- Whether or not public Wi-Fi access is allowed
- Developing a policy for all team members to follow
- Meeting minimum security standards
- What to do if sensitive data is breached
In order for BYOD policies to work, each employee’s role needs to be clearly defined, which will help determine who has access to specific data. You may also decide that certain smartphones or laptops are unacceptable, such as those with outdated hardware and software.
An important aspect of MSP security that is not often stated is that there are serious legal risks involved with mixing personal and business data on the same device. One of the first questions you must answer is “Who pays for the device if it’s lost or stolen?” Employees, partners and other vendors need to accept responsibility for replacing it if the employer doesn’t furnish equipment.
Large firms such as hospitals and financial institutions must be extra cautious about BYOD, especially if they must meet government compliance. A physician, for example, cannot afford to lose his or her smartphone after accessing patient protected health information, which is considered extremely sensitive. Despite this type of risk, medical professionals can benefit tremendously from bringing their own devices since it is common for healthcare facilities to have multiple floors, each with different specialists.
Banks and brokers must also set strict policies since they deal with sensitive information that criminals are actively looking to steal. They can face heavy fines and lawsuits if this information is breached. All it takes for a major disaster is for one employee to click the wrong email and accidentally download malware to their system.
Ultimately, BYOD users must also be prepared to allow the company to lock and wipe their device if it’s lost or stolen. This policy should be clearly communicated to employees so that there is no misunderstanding. Employees must agree to keep personal and corporate data separate and sign the policy.
Tips for a Successful BYOD Policy
- Deny access to devices that behave unpredictably
- Make sure clients know the risks of high employee turnover
- Educate workers on how cybercriminals trick victims
- Require complex passwords for logins
- Immediately terminate access for ex-employees
The key points for MSP security to remember about BYOD are that it requires close system monitoring and strict policies and procedure. It’s crucial to train employees on the importance of online security and how they should and should not use their devices. As long as everyone on board understands their roles and limitations, BYOD can create better loyalty, productivity, and longevity among employees.