7 Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) security essentials

a woman working on her macbook sitting on her house floor, back against a sofa

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the in-the-know name for a situation where your team uses their own laptops and other devices for company work.

Now that working from home is on the cards for even more people, BYOD has suddenly become a reality for all kinds of businesses. In many cases though, it’s something they’ve started doing without really thinking about it.

Which might be a problem. Because BYOD and data security do not necessarily go hand in hand.

In fact, there are growing numbers of hackers who are using the disruptions in ways of working that COVID-19 has brought about to steal data which is no longer secure.

If you want to keep being as serious about BYOD security as you are about IT in the office, we’ve produced a handy video and downloadable guide as well as this article to help get you started.

BYOD and data security – how to make sure you’re protected

1) Make sure devices are password-protected

It might be tempting to assume that devices people are using to work from home are automatically secure because of the protected environment they’re in.

Sadly, that’s not the case. You should always ensure your team knows they need strong passwords on their devices and work applications.

Using MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication, where multiple pieces of log-in information or physical items are required) is an even better approach.

2) Is a shared family device best for company work?

The main concern here is that even a well-meaning family member can easily click on a less-than-secure link and open that shared device up to someone with bad intentions.

That someone is likely to be only too happy to find vulnerable company data among the family files they’ve just hacked into.

For this reason, it might be worth considering providing company devices to employees who work remotely.

3) Make sure there’s antivirus and malware protection

Antivirus software isn’t the be-all and end-all of data security. But it’s definitely a smart place to start.

Make sure that all of the devices your team uses have up-to-date antivirus and malware protection installed.

4) Check the OS is up-to-date

Older Operating Systems, such as Windows 7, are no longer supported by their developers. This means Microsoft no longer updates the OS to handle developing issues and data retrieval can be tricky.

In the long run, one way to save yourself some trouble is to create a central database which lists every employee’s BYOD machine and its specifications. This will be helpful when it becomes time to troubleshoot these sorts of problems.

5) Are all the applications patched and updated?

Updates are annoying. They’re also completely necessary.

Ensure your team knows how important it is not to keep clicking “remind me later” with those updates. Despite what it might sometimes appear, the developers of these programs aren’t doing it for the fun of it.

6) Do you have a VPN?

A VPN – a Virtual Private Network – is the safest way to enable your team to access company data from home.

If you don’t have one of these set up already, it’s time to get it done.

7) Your home working policy – do you have one?

If you don’t, you need one. Updating your employee handbook is not many people’s idea of a good time. But it is one of the best ways to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to what they need to do in terms of data security when working from home.

It’s one of the more important steps to take when you’re looking to create and manage a mobile workforce. Your home working policy should make it clear to your team:

  • How to report an issue
  • Who to report the issue to
  • What steps to follow if they ever notice anything wrong

With these basics in place, your BYOD security should be much tougher to crack.

If you need to know more about getting your data security ready to handle a BYOD set-up, why not get in touch? We’ll help you protect your data and even write a BYOD policy for you, so you can focus on what you do best – running your business.

We are your local cybersecurity experts with nearly 1000 businesses on our books. See what our clients say about us.