Posted on September 16, 2022.

“Bring your own device” policies have grown in popularity in recent years because they offer employees the flexibility to use their own smartphones and tablets for work, while also reducing hardware expenses for the employer. 

However, these policies can also pose security risks if not properly implemented. Some of these risks can include:

  • Malware: Personal devices can easily be infected with malware, which can then infect the business network.
  • Unsecured Networks: When accessing business networks through personal devices, employees might not use secure Wi-Fi connections, making it possible for malicious actors to intercept corporate data.
  • Lost or stolen devices: If a personal device containing company information is lost or stolen, the information can be accessed by unauthorized individuals.
  • Outdated operating systems: If employees don’t keep their personal devices up to date with the latest operating system and software versions, their device could be at greater risk of compromise. 
  • Jailbroken devices: Jailbreaking allows users to download what would normally be unauthorized software on their devices. Jailbroken devices are more vulnerable to malware and other security threats.

To mitigate these security risks, it’s important to draft a clear BYOD security policy that protects your business but also allows your employees to do their jobs with as little obstruction as possible. Below, we’ll outline some best practices to include in your BYOD policy.

1. Require passwords on all personal devices

All devices and applications that will be used to access company information should be password-protected. This will help to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing company data if a device is lost or stolen. 

Passwords should be at least 12 characters long, containing a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. It’s also a good idea to implement multi-factor authentication to add another layer of security.

2. Make the principle of least privilege a part of your zero trust policy

A zero trust policy requires that any outside connections are verified. The principle of least privilege, as an element of this policy, states that users should only have the bare minimum level of access to company systems and data that is necessary for them to do their job. This helps to limit the damage that can be done by an attacker in the event that a user’s device is compromised. 

For example, if an employee only needs to access email on their personal device, they should not be given permission to also access the company CRM or other sensitive data.

3. Prevent employees from downloading unsanctioned applications

Jailbreaking devices and downloading unsanctioned applications can introduce security risks to company networks. To prevent this, your BYOD policy should prohibit employees from jailbreaking their devices or installing any applications that have not been approved by the IT department. 

Mobile device management platforms are one way that employers can manage this. MDMs can track what applications are installed on devices and what websites are being visited, which can give employers a better understanding of how employees are using their devices for work purposes. 

4. Require VPNs when employees work remotely

When employees are working remotely, they should be required to use a VPN to connect to the company network. This will help to prevent sensitive data from being intercepted by attackers while it is being transmitted over the internet. 

VPNs encrypt all data that is sent between a user’s device and the company network, making it much more difficult for attackers to access this data. 

5. Back up device data in the cloud

Personal devices can be lost or stolen, so it’s important to have a backup of all company data that is stored on these devices. This data should be backed up in the cloud so that it can be accessed from any other device if the need arises. 

Cloud-based backup solutions also make it easier for employers to remotely wipe data from a lost or stolen device, which can help to prevent this data from falling into the wrong hands. 

6. Create a culture of accountability and security

It’s important to create a culture of accountability and security within your organization so that employees understand the importance of protecting corporate data. Employees should be made aware of the risks associated with BYOD and be trained on how to best protect company data. 

Your BYOD policy should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure that it is keeping up with the latest security threats. And, employees should be held accountable for any lapses in security that may occur. 

By following these best practices, you can help to keep your company’s data safe while still allowing your employees to use their personal devices for work purposes.

Contact us to learn more about  “Bring your own device” policies and what they might entail for your business.