One of the biggest obstacles Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programs face in gaining buy-in from management is the risks that go hand-in-hand with allowing personal devices to store and interact with company data.
It would be naïve to deny that BYOD programs can cause security risks. Having said that, it's also true that the benefits of rolling out BYOD outweigh these risks. Here are four specific actions you can take to mitigate and minimize the potential liabilities that you and your organization might face.
1. Stay up to date
Regardless of whether it's an iPhone, Android, Windows or Blackberry, phone manufacturers are constantly updating their operating systems to address potential vulnerabilities and, in short, make each device more secure. Constantly installing mobile updates can go a long way towards keeping all devices in the network ahead of potential threats.
2. Say no to jail-broken phones
Sure, closed systems like Apple can be annoying, but the closed system is in place for a reason: to maintain control and safety standards on each of the applications that can be used on the device. The reason users decide to “jail-break” their devices is so that they can download and access unauthorized and unofficial applications on their devices. However, these rogue applications are often the target for malicious software.
Banning any jail-broken devices from the system should be among the top directives of any BYOD program.
3. Try MDM
MDM stands for Mobile Device Management. Utilizing an MDM service allows administrators to not only keep up with the latest security features but it can also help them maintain a detailed device inventory, manage work content on private devices and remote wipe any sensitive data or work applications when an employee leaves the organization.
4. Have better passwords
After many years of dealing with digital passwords we really should be well-versed in creating a strong password. Yet, we continue to see “Password” or “Password1234” across the board.
While administrators can’t make users create strong passwords for their devices, they can certainly do so to access important work-related applications. As painful as they can be, minimum password requirements such as lowercase, uppercase, numbers and special symbols make it that much more difficult for hackers and guessers.
Maintaining a safe network while implementing a BYOD program to benefit users can sometimes be a balancing act. Not a simple one but one that, with everyone’s cooperation, can be achieved.