Bring Your Own Data, more commonly known as Bring Your Own Device or BYOD, allows people to bring their own personally owned technology into the workplace. Many companies now hire contractors and freelancers, and providing them with IT equipment isn’t always feasible for such short-term contracts. Therefore, having a BYOD policy means they can bring their own laptops to work on in your office.
In theory, this is a great idea, as you save money and don’t have to train someone to use your company’s computer equipment, but it can cause IT security issues. Here’s how to do BYOD safely.
BYOD isn’t as simple as telling people to bring their own laptops and giving them the WiFi password. For best practice, you should ensure you know who will be bringing their own devices. This may involve setting up a registration process, perhaps on your company’s intranet, with a checklist such as:
- Does the device have an up to date operating system?
- Have you scanned it for viruses and malware?
- Will users abide by your internet usage regulations when they’re working on your network?
It’s important that the safety of these devices is checked before they’re connected to your system, as even one rogue laptop can cause untold chaos to your business. You should also provide a link to mcafee.com so that people can download the latest antivirus tools before they begin work.
Consider the risks
There are a number of potential risks when it comes to using BYOD:
- Devices being lost or stolen – a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds in the USA, and if someone is taking their device from work to home, it could easily get mislaid or taken. It’s vital that you have local backups of important data and can wipe the device remotely if it goes missing.
- Out of date software – when it comes to your own IT devices, you can schedule in their updates and make sure they’ve been run. On personal computers, it’s not so easy. You need to ensure workers sign an agreement that they’ll run all recommended updates.
- Unsecured WiFi – workers who use BYOD will often do some or all of their work remotely, which can often mean using public WiFi. They need to be aware of the risks of unsecured WiFi, which is often a tempting freebie but can make it easy for hackers to steal data.
- Jailbroken devices – it’s important that employees don’t use unsecured devices that have been jailbroken or apps that have been downloaded from less reputable websites. Create a list of permissible devices and recommended apps
Keep work and personal lives separate
One issue with BYOD is that it can blur the lines between work and home. People generally expect to have their internet and IT usage monitored when they’re in the office but want to know their information is secure when they’re doing personal stuff. Using productivity apps can track whether work is being done, without being too intrusive, and you should set out a clear policy about using business apps outside of work hours.
BYOD has a number of advantages, from saving money to improving productivity, but it’s important that it’s properly implemented and clear policies are in place.