Working conditions are more varied than ever before in today’s world. From working remotely to companies moving back to the office to offices operating in a hybrid environment, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a simple policy that gives employees the flexibility to use their own computers and phones for work.
While this policy improves accessibility for employees and enhances efficiency for working both remotely and in-person, it can prove to be a challenge for security. Establishing a policy taking into account both the access and the limits of BYOD will combine employee feasibility with company guidelines.
Generally, a BYOD security policy can be broken down into a few categories: acceptable use policies, minimum security requirements, company provided authentication, and company permissions for modifying data on the device.
When taking these four components into account, a robust security policy can be determined that allows the efficiency and ease of a BYOD policy without threatening your organization’s security.
Establish and Define Acceptable Use
An Acceptable Use policy should outline basic principles around what devices are allowed to be used for work and what can be done on those devices.
For example, a company with a hybrid work environment (some days in office and some days remote) may want an acceptable use policy that only allows certain laptops and mobile phones to be used for work in order to ensure that the same devices are being used for company projects. This could prevent a loss of productivity if an employee uses a PC instead and fails to transfer or present data on the company machine.
An Acceptable Use policy also traditionally defines the parameters of what is allowed to be done on which devices. A company that is entirely remote may want to limit what an employee is allowed to use their phones for on company time.
Phones can also serve as more of a security risk since they are much easier to lose and are publicly utilized more, creating a higher risk of being attacked by hackers.
Because of this risk, an acceptable use policy could say that phones should only be used for email and joining meetings, and not for storing any sensitive information.
Many device management tools, whether from Microsoft for Personal Computers or for Android or IOS smartphones, come with restrictions on certain applications. This could allow users to access their email on their device, but block certain actions from being performed on that device, such as forwarding messages or downloading attachments. Even if an unauthorized user gets access to the device, they will not be able to forward or download sensitive information from them.
Standardize Basic Security Controls
Enforcing a basic level of security for each device can be done with a variety of 3rd party applications. These applications allow administrators to set basic security requirements such as a passcode policy, access to cloud services, and VPN usage.
Android devices can be managed by Android Enterprise, which provides a work container for the device. A work container is a separate folder that stores enterprise applications and data, which ensures that work documents are never mixed up with personal items.
Basic Security Controls allow for personal devices to be utilized for company operations while also enabling a secure distinction in the way that the device is being used. These controls can track logins as a way to monitor activity, preventing misuse and loss of data.
Manage Company-Provided Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) has become increasingly popular for both professional and personal accounts. 2FA provides significantly more security for accounts than just using a password; the process of logging in and retrieving the right code through the associated email or phone number enables basic security procedures.
Setting and enforcing a 2FA policy can provide a company with more monitoring capabilities. The added security can ensure that business accounts are more protected against attackers, and these policies should be very familiar to most employees as 2FA has become a standard option for many social platforms.
Set Company Permissions to Modify Device Data
Setting a company policy to be able to remotely modify and remove data from an employee’s device can be a difficult process to establish. However, it can be instrumental in the case that the device is lost or stolen.
If the device is no longer in the possession of its actual owner,, the company will be able to lock it down to make it unusable without a secret key or code. Or, the device can be remotely wiped of all data.
Employees may have issues with this policy because it may be seen as infringing on their personal possessions. However, this policy may be a necessity as it ensures company data will be protected at all costs.
Navigating Productivity and Accessib
Navigating a post-pandemic world that has significantly altered the work-life spheres can be tricky. Accommodating employees and their accessibility can not only improve productivity, but it also ensures higher satisfaction with the organization. A Bring Your Own Device Policy is one example of closing the distance between working remotely and working in person.