Bring your own device (BYOD) policies govern the practice of allowing employee-owned devices to access corporate-owned data.
With smartphone users now comprising over 275 million of the US population, a BYOD policy can help an organization save on hefty equipment costs and improves staff satisfaction by letting them choose the devices they’re most comfortable or familiar with.
That said, a BYOD workplace still poses plenty of concern surrounding the safety of company data. With employees using their own laptops, smartphones, and tablets, implementing uniform safeguards can be a challenge. We address how businesses can overcome these issues and implement a successful BYOD policy below.
Determine what devices (and apps) are allowed
Your first step to establishing an effective BYOD policy is determining your scope of acceptable devices. Make a list of what is and isn’t permitted. This could mean allowing iPhones while prohibiting Androids, or allowing specific models from each.
It helps to determine what devices your employees already use, and what types can be easily monitored under your BYOD management system.
Additionally, take note of what types of apps are allowed under your system, and take steps to prevent access to or downloads of questionable programs. The wrong app can easily blow a hole in your security, leaving sensitive corporate data ripe for the picking. Be sure to set appropriate restrictions in your policy, which may include constraining BYOD privileges to specific individuals or departments.
Have a clear strategy for lost devices or employees who leave
When writing your policy, be sure to address the risks of theft or lost devices and how corporate data can stay protected. A remote-wipe process is typically implemented in these cases, rendering a compromised device useless.
Similarly, have a solid exit strategy for employees who leave your company. A concerning 60% of companies neglect to remove sensitive business data from the devices of former staff, leaving their data vulnerable to unwanted access.
Some businesses disable a user’s email access, synchronization process, permissions to specific data and applications, and other access tokens upon resignation on top of wiping their BYOD-enabled device. Make it clear to employees what your intended process is, and the rights you have to issue a remote wipe.
Address the risks of remote wipes
Remote wiping can be a quick, easy solution to a lost, stolen, or compromised device — though this typically involves erasing all of its content, including personal files and photos owned by the user. This can commonly result in permanent deletion of such data, which can prove troubling if the user is unaware.
It’s therefore critical to assert this risk in your BYOD policy, allowing employees to take the proper precautions necessary. It may also help to offer guidance in backing up and securing their files such as migrating any data to the cloud in the case of remote wipes, allowing them to easily restore any lost personal information.
Establish a clear security policy (and implement proper training)
Above all else, be sure to have clear, reasonable security policies in place when adopting BYOD. This involves limiting access to only the specific information your employees need (i.e., restricting file access by department), encouraging employees to implement lengthy passwords and multifactor authentication, and encrypting data stored on their devices.
However, policies are one thing, practice is another. To strengthen your security protocols, it’s worth training employees on cybersecurity awareness, risk mitigation, and the proper practices for maintaining data and device protection.
Having consistent compliance monitoring in place can also help ensure that workers adhere to the restrictions and mandatory practices you’ve established.
In the world of healthcare and dental, data security is an utmost priority. Relieve the unnecessary struggles of a BYOD workplace by having trusted, robust IT solutions in place.
Providing New York practices with comprehensive tech services and support — from disaster recovery and data backup to your own outsourced IT team — Healthy IT can help further your PHI safety. Get in touch with our experts today for the cybersecurity your business needs.