BYOD Security Tips: Six Ways You Can Secure Your Network Now
As more and more companies adopt Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, cybercriminals are rising to the occasion. Never have small to medium-sized businesses been more at risk than they are right now. BYOD security policies must strike a delicate balance between data security and employee freedom.
BYOD and Your Small to Medium-Sized Business
With so many companies turning to BYOD models, you’d think there are some pretty good reasons behind the trend. You’d be right:
- 42% of employees who use their own devices reported increased productivity
- BYOD allows employers to have access to more talent when hiring since the hiring process isn’t limited geographically
- When all the benefits are considered, employers save an average of $1500 per employee under a BYOD model
- BYOD increases the mobility of your workforce
- Your business will no longer be responsible for supplying, maintaining, and repairing devices (although it’s recommended that employees be given some monetary compensation for using their own devices)
- Employees report that they have a better work/life balance when they can use their own devices
Of course, there is no good news without bad news. BYOD security can be compromised far more easily than traditional work-issued device security platforms.
Data Loss: Since employees take personal devices everywhere they go, the odds of losing the device, damaging it, or having it stolen increase. If this happens, locally stored data will be lost forever. This is especially problematic when you consider that if a device is lost or stolen, there is a possibility that a bad actor can access files and sensitive data and wreak havoc on your network.
Inherent Security Vulnerabilities: Each operating system and almost every piece of software it runs comes with security vulnerabilities specific to the device. This increases the risks of a data breach or unintentional malware infection.
Bypassing the System: Also known as jailbreaking, bypassing security features and restrictions allow the user to install third-party software or unauthorized applications, putting both the device and your network at risk.
Unsecured Wi-Fi Connections: Man-in-the-Middle attacks use unsecured public Wi-Fi connections to hack into devices and mine for information or steal personal data.
Malware: Just like a work-issued device, a personal device that has been infected with malware can spread the infection through your entire network.
Six BYOD Security Tips to Protect Your Network
It’s hard to find a balance between network security and over-reaching policies that interfere with your employees’ freedoms. Iconic IT has found the easiest ways to secure personal devices in the workforce without creating hardship for the employees using them.
Here are six BYOD security tips you can take right now to protect your network
1. Password Protection
The first step in protecting your network is to require passwords on all devices and applications. Remember the basics of password protection:
- Passwords between 8-12 characters, including a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters
- Never recycle old passwords
- Use a different password for each device and application
- Use a password manager like 1Password
- Only share passwords via a password manager, which will allow access to files through an autogenerated password instead without revealing the original password.
2. Restrict Permissions and Data Access
Make sure each employee only has authorization to access the data, applications and files that are needed to perform his or her job. Restrict access to sensitive data to only authorized users. Doing this reduces the damage caused by a bad actor’s infiltration of a personal device.
3. Routine Back-Ups
Make sure you have a system in place to reliably back-up all data on each device. This makes restoring files and information far easier if a device is damaged, lost, or stolen.
4. Protect Each Device with Antivirus Software
Each device that accesses your network needs to be protected with a rigorous anti-virus platform. Remember the best way to remediate a breach is to make sure it never happens in the first place.
5. Blacklist Prohibited Applications
Blacklisting means blocking certain applications that are known to be malicious. Some social networking and file sharing sites may fall under this category.
6. Cybersecurity Education
Your employees are the gatekeepers of your network security. Make sure you give them the tools they need to protect your network. Cybersecurity training is an effective way to educate your teams about the importance of BYOD security.
Adopting A BYOD Policy
The best way to protect your network when employees are using personal devices is to adopt a BYOD policy, like this free to use one found here. This policy outlines the essentials of personal device security.
Have your employees read the policy, sign a copy for his or her file, and keep a copy. The BYOD policy will help protect you if a breach should happen, and that breach is traced to an employee who is not following the policy.
How Iconic IT Can Help with BYOD Security
Iconic IT can help you create and implement the BYOD policies, from antivirus to password protection and multi-factor authentication, that will keep your employees’ devices and your network secure.
Find out how Iconic IT can help you take advantage of the BYOD landscape, safely. Contact us today.
Does your company have a BYOD policy?
All companies should consider having a BYOD policy in place. Don’t have one? Click the link below to download your Sample BYOD Policy.