How to enforce your BYOD policy

How to enforce your BYOD policy

A decade ago, securing mobile devices used for work was a relatively simple affair. Employees would simply use company-issued cell phones for work. But things have changed a lot since then as people have grown accustomed to using their own devices, be they the latest iPhone or Android-powered device. While this increases productivity and eliminates the need for employers to provide business-issued devices, it also complicates security and data governance. That’s why you need a BYOD policy that isn’t only extensive with regards to what it covers, but is also enforced without breaching the rights of your employees.

Finding the balance between privacy and security

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all is finding the optimal compromise between the privacy of your employees and the security of your data. After all, no one will enroll in your BYOD policy if they feel it involves surrendering ownership of the devices and apps they’ve purchased for themselves.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to allow employees to use their own devices to access work-related apps and data while preventing these from being stored on the device itself. Another option is to partition the device so administrators can retain control and oversight without encroaching on employee privacy.

Implementing mobile device management (MDM)

No BYOD policy can be enforced effectively without a centralized hub administrators can use to track all devices and accounts used for work. Administrators need to know who is logging in and from which device and location, all without breaching employees’ right to privacy. They also need a dependable way to revoke access rights from employees that are no longer with the company or devices that have been reported lost or stolen.

At the same time, it’s necessary to maintain a complete audit trail of all login activities and the flow of data. An MDM solution can help you enforce your policies and monitor all access points used for work.

Incorporating the zero-trust security model

The zero-trust security model holds that every login and device should be verified every time, while only the access privileges necessary for an individual to do their jobs are granted. While it might sound like a drastic measure, it does provide some benefits to employees too, namely, increased productivity thanks to reduced distractions from apps and data they have no need for.
A zero-trust approach to security reduces your exposure to attacks and keeps track of every entry point into your business network. When combined with single sign-on (SSO) and multifactor authentication (MFA), it’s the most effective way to protect your digital assets.

Dealing with lost or stolen devices

The biggest risk with mobile devices stems from the very fact they’re portable. Mobile devices are far more likely to get lost or stolen than desktop computers locked away in the office. Your policy should always include a clause requiring your staff to immediately alert an administrator if a device is reported lost or stolen.

If any access tokens or potentially sensitive business data is going to be installed on the device, you’ll also need a remote wiping clause. This will allow you to remotely reset the device to factory defaults while taking every possible effort to protect apps and data belonging to the device owner.

Providing a dependable exit strategy

No matter how liberal your BYOD policy might be, there will likely always be some employees who prefer to use company-issued devices. Others might want to drop out of your BYOD program, and they shouldn’t have any obligation to explain why either.

Moreover, when people leave the business, you’ll need a way to revoke their access rights and delete any sensitive data on the device immediately. Either party should be able to invoke this exit strategy for any reason, but it must always respect employee privacy and the security of corporate data.

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