Your own BYOD Environment in 5 steps

More and more employees are using their personal devices for work. Consider these five best practices when creating your own Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, environment.

BYOD stands for “bring your own device”, and a large percentage of employees are using their own personal devices for work. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2018 there’ll be twice as many employee devices used for work than company ones.

But, in 2014 Check Point Software Technologies report produced a report suggesting around 95% of the IT pro’s they surveyed were struggling to properly manage employee devices. And the challenge of developing and supporting BYOD continues today.

However, if you or your business follows these 5 steps, you stand a much better chance of successfully developing your own BYOD environment:

1. Create the right framework

Before you do anything, clearly define who is allowed to use it, and what devices you’re allowing to be used. Also, who’s responsible for supporting those devices? We strongly suggest you incorporate a cost-benefit analysis as part of initial steps to develop your BYOD framework. It will help in identifying the basic requirements.

Collaborate often. Your framework will require input from your IT and HR staff, legal and financial advisors, or regulatory teams.

2. Define your BYOD Policies

Whilst the framework provides a high-level view of the BYOD environment, it’s the policies that fill in the gaps.

You need to explicitly define what BYOD users can and can’t do when using their personal devices for work. For security reasons, will they need an app of yours installed? If they already have an app you don’t approve of, what happens next? How will an employee’s device be supported by your IT people if something goes wrong? Get clear on policies from the beginning to avoid confusion on BYOD do’s and don’ts.

3. Use Mobile Device Management (MDM) Software

Employees personal devices can be lost or stolen, and a good MDM will help you to protect your business’ data that’s on those devices. Good software has the ability to destroy company data leaving the personal data intact. Or it can reset the device back to factory settings, which effectively wipes everything. Some titles allow you to even wipe the contents rendering the device completely useless.

Generally speaking, MDM software can be a tough ask. After all, the device is not yours. Clearly outlined policies, and the pros and cons of an MDM will help alleviate concerns and encourage adoption.

4. Use Network Access Control (NAC) Tools

With NAC tools you can enforce network access policies, guaranteeing the health of a device before allowing access. Therefore enforcing BYOD policies is a natural next step.

Modern NAC tools can detect and identify types of devices, allowing NAC to act like a gatekeeper. Only BYOD that meet your policies will be allowed to access your network. In theory, you could limit access by device, or by employee job function.

5. Staff education

No BYOD environment stands a chance without the full cooperation of your employees. Ensure you’re fully transparent about framework, policies, and any MDM or NAC tools you want to use.

They also need to be educated on security risks. Teach them about the use of strong passwords, phishing attacks, and the dangers of sharing their policy-covered devices with friends or family.

With the right approach, a BYOD environment ca help boost employee productivity while still addressing your security concerns. And if you want help developing your BYOD environment, contact us.

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