Reducing BYOD Security Risks

Reducing BYOD Security RisksThe advantages of BYOD policies are vast. It can increase morale, productivity, and connectivity in the workplace. It can also save businesses money on equipment costs and maintenance. With an increasing number of businesses adopting these policies, BYOD is an important part of the future of the workplace.

Even so, BYOD policies are not perfect. Just as other technology trends and improvements within the workplace, such as the advent of cloud storage capabilities, the primary flaw in BYOD is intrinsically linked to its primary advantages—greater access and fewer barriers to connectivity.

With greater access and fewer barriers, there is less control over the flow of data, resulting in BYOD security risks, such as the following:

  • Stolen or Lost Devices
  • Malware
  • Misuse
  • Compliance & Tracking Difficulties

Each of these risks were detailed in a previous post when discussing the disadvantages of BYOD policies and the hesitation some businesses have about implementation. Some of these risks can certainly be mitigated, but businesses must recognize these risks and be proactive in implementing strategies to limit liability in the event that a breach occurs.

Preparation is key. As they say, “the best offense is a good defense,” and this is no exception. If you’re thinking of implementing a BYOD policy, or currently have one in place, it is important that you have documentation and a plan in place to protect your business, and your data.

1Emphasize Backups – Businesses should regularly back up their data. This practice should be emphasized at all times—especially when implementing BYOD policies. Employees using their own devices are responsible for backing up their own data on their device. Make it clear that the business is not responsible for the loss of personal data and make it as easy as possible for employees to backup business related data on their personal devices. There are several business and cloud storage providers that can help to keep your data safe.
2Document Policies – Put a plan in place. Document this plan and distribute it to employees. This plan should include plan for your business’s information assurance team, with a list of security protocols in place so that everyone knows what to do in the event that data is compromised.
3Restrict Apps – Make a list of blacklisted apps. If an employee downloads any app from this list, make it known that they will be required to delete the app. Some common apps on company blacklists include: Facebook, Google Play/App Store, Facebook, Dropbox, Skype, Twitter, Cydia, and Evernote. Not only do these apps potentially reduce productivity (which is eliminates of the main benefits of BYOD), but they allow third party access which further increases security risks.
4Detail Consequences – With all company policies come a list of detailed consequences if those policies are violated. The same goes for BYOD policies. Not only should you document and detail your company policy on BYOD, but you should also have a list of detailed consequences in place so that employees are aware of what will happen should your company’s BYOD policies be abused or violated.


Final Thoughts

Above all, it is important that employees on all levels are educated and aware of your business policies regarding BYOD. Take it seriously. Implement training and make sure employees are aware of what is expected of them and what happens should they breach these security protocols.

This education and awareness should extend to all levels and job titles. Everyone should know what to do in the event that security is breached. While security risks cannot be eliminated entirely, they can be reduced and the damage can be limited—as long as there is a plan in place.


Julia Richardson is a senior editor/researcher at Revuezzle. As a mom of 3 with a degree in Marketing, Julia loves to combine her passions- writing, researching, and people. In pursuit of these passions, she’s done a little bit of everything— From B2B sales, advertising copy, to writing, research, and the occasional celebrity interview. Her writings have been featured in multiple blogs and online publications, and she’s designed and implemented marketing plans for several Fortune 500 companies. Julia lives in Richmond, VA with her husband, kids, and her dog Phoebe.

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