With the prevalence of remote and hybrid work, many firms have implemented a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. While allowing employees to use their personal devices for work can increase flexibility and cut down on costs, a lax approach increases the risk of security and data breaches. Here are 5 ways to improve your firm’s BYOD policy and keep your data secure.
Strong Passwords and MFA
Your passwords are the primary keys to your network and weak passwords put your firm at risk. With many recent cyberattacks involving stolen credentials, strong passwords will help to keep your firm, your employees, and your clients’ data safe. A general guideline for a strong password is a length of at least 12 characters, a mix of capital and lowercase letters, and several numbers and symbols. Never use the same password for multiple accounts and be sure to change your passwords frequently.
Be aware that strong passwords are not effective enough on their own and an added layer of security is needed. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides that added layer and helps to keep your network secure. MFA requires you to confirm your login by answering a security question, using an authentication app, or entering a code from a text message or email. Even if your credentials are compromised, MFA improves security in BYOD policies.
Secure Networks and Devices
Although network security seems like a no-brainer, physical device security may often be overlooked. In your policy, include strong password requirements for devices and home networks. When employees are working on the go, using a personal device on a public or unsecured network sends an open invitation to cybercriminals. For employees working from home, stress the importance of a strong password on their home networks. In case a device used for work is stolen, misplaced, or misused, ensure that they are set to auto-lock after a short amount of inactivity. These steps add even more security to your BYOD policy.
When new members join your team or current employees leave, have a plan in place. Include a streamlined system for adding and removing devices from your network. For new employees, be sure that their onboarding includes remote work setups and software security installations. When an employee leaves your firm, include a way to remotely wipe your data from their devices. Remote wipe is also crucial if a device is lost or stolen.
Communication and Enforcement
While all of these policies will decrease the cybersecurity risks of BYOD, they are only worthwhile with proper communication and enforcement. Your IT team or managed service provider (MSP) needs to clearly communicate and enforce these policies across the network. Clearly state your BYOD policies to new and existing employees with email reminders and during onboarding and cybersecurity training. Implement sections in your cybersecurity training and onboarding that clearly explains BYOD, your company’s policy, and best practices. Your network team or IT partner may also have tools available to ensure that every employee is adhering to the BYOD rules. Promoting a culture of cybersecurity awareness, an often-overlooked step, will keep your employees aware of potential hazards.
Desktop as a Service
BYOD sounds great but for many firms, especially those without abundant IT resources, it undoubtedly complicates their cybersecurity. The amount of work required to implement and maintain a secure BYOD environment may not be feasible. That is where a third-party Desktop as a service (DaaS) provider can lend a hand.
DaaS nullifies the need for laborious BYOD policies and enforcement. With DaaS, firms can log in to their work desktops from anywhere, on any device. DaaS provides a secure connection through the provider's network, allowing employees to work anywhere, even on data or public Wi-Fi, without worrying about compromising their security.