Cybersecurity is a primary concern for every IT department. In fact, security is among the top technology initiatives driving IT investment (29%), which is almost…
Though an increasingly common and successful practice, allowing your employees to BYOD – “bring your own device” – poses cybersecurity concerns. Having a BYOD program in place doesn't have to keep your company from having a secure cyber environment. Once you understand the benefits of implementing a BYOD policy for internal communications, you’ll be less hesitant to let your employees use their hardware to run company software.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to smooth over the tension between your employees’ BYOD desires like unrestricted access and your company’s cybersecurity needs, which are typically at odds with free-roaming device usage.
The two biggest factors in rolling out a successful BYOD program are employee education and smart policymaking.
If we’re talking BYOD, we’re typically talking about smartphones. Your employees take their smartphones with them everywhere they go. As such, they’re amenable to mixing business with pleasure so long as the business portion doesn’t interfere with the operations of the device’s other uses. Therein lies the problem.
Smartphones are the biggest vectors for data leakage or loss, representing almost 70% of cases according to a cybersecurity trends report. If you want to prevent your organization from leaking data through every personal device’s sieve, you’ll need to control certain operational aspects of your employee's devices.
Imposing control on employee devices is bound to make your employees unhappy, so you’ll have to use a lighter touch than a software-based lockdown. We’ll explain how to develop and implement a formal BYOD policy a bit later in the article, but first, we want you to realize the importance of changing your employees’ perspectives if you’re going to have a successful BYOD policy while maintaining security.
Your employees are more likely to implement reasonable BYOD practices if they understand the consequences of cybersecurity on the rest of the organization. BYOD can carry a risk to your employees, which you should be forthcoming about during your educational discussions.
The trick to effectively communicating a BYOD policy to your employees is to emphasize that their personal device now has access to the larger corporate system. The scope of this access is directly linked to their ability to get work done efficiently, while maintaining the security of the company’s data and the integrity of their device.
Make sure you tailor your educational program to your audience, likely a mix of and less tech-oriented employees. Try not to throw the tech talk at the people who aren’t going to be interested in hearing about the technical detail. Instead, offer a few examples of good and bad BYOD practices, and then showcase your company’s BYOD policy.
When showing examples, it’s important to link user behaviors to larger consequences. People respond best to realistic examples, so avoid scare tactics. Not every data breach caused by a BYOD-centric mishap is going to bring down the entire company, but be sure that everyone knows it’s a remote possibility.
By creating a workforce of cybersecurity-savvy employees, you’ll be adding value to your employees’ skill set and providing them with tools to be vigilant while using their devices.
Now that we know the solution to BYOD issues is an explicit BYOD policy and a detailed educational program for your employees, what are the concrete steps your company can take to put the wheels in motion?
First, resolve to follow through on making an explicit BYOD policy and talking through it with your employees who need it most. Don’t be like the majority of companies who casually enforce BYOD policies. Pair good BYOD practices with rewards, and provide constructive feedback to correct unsatisfactory practices.
The better you craft your company’s BYOD policy, the more likely your employees are to follow it, and the more likely your company is to retain a strong cybersecurity perimeter. Remember, a policy is only effective if people are motivated and capable of following.
Consider incorporating digital workplace software into your BYOD policy for the betterment of your company. Software can act as a soft barrier between your user’s device and your company’s important data, without getting in the way of the user’s job.
By introducing a layer of protection, your employees can rest assured their device will stay safe and also stay useful in the course of their work. You won’t have to worry about data breaches or malware slipping into your corporate network as a result of a lax BYOD policy.
A digitl intermediary between your employees and your data lets your employees retain full control of their devices, while allowing full control of your company's internal perimeter. Your IT team will thank you, as will your BYOD users.