WolfVision Cynap and VZ-9.4 Visualizer
Image Source: WolfVision_vSolution
Andy Hinxman

Member Article

BYOD, and working securely on the go

BYOD, and working securely on the go

Being able to work ‘on the go’ is now demanded by employees and customers. Work has become more fluid, and people are no longer tied to their desk from 9-5. Software and app developments have made this a reality, along with ‘Bring Your Own Device’, often referred to as BYOD.

Allowing employees to use their own laptops, tablets and smartphones to access company networks from wherever they are is considered fundamental to working flexibly and more efficiently. For small companies, introducing a BYOD policy can also be cost effective as employees are investing in the company infrastructure through the devices they use, and they don’t necessarily need separate company funded smartphones, laptops or tablets.

Despite the possibilities BYOD opens up, it isn’t without its risks.

What does BYOD mean for IT security?

The use of devices which aren’t owned by the company means businesses are relinquishing control to some extent. You are effectively allowing these smartphones, laptops and tablets to be used as a gateway to company data – which is very attractive to cyber criminals.

There are steps you can take to get back a degree of control, with the help of a clear BYOD policy. This policy should outline:

  • How much work they are allowed to do on their phone/tablet
  • Any restrictions on the data they can access from their own device
  • Whether insurance is the responsibility of the company or employee
  • Any restrictions on other applications they may have or wish to install on their device
  • Any additional security layers they are expected to have , e.g. 6 digit rather than 4 digit passwords, touch ID
  • Any restrictions on the use of public or unsecured Wi-Fi connections
  • What should happen in the event that the device is lost or stolen
  • The requirement for all devices accessing company networks to have company approved (and funded) anti virus installed – as all devices accessing the internet are at risk from cyber attacks

Another way to protect data is blocking IP addresses or home networks outside of work hours. This doesn’t work for companies where employees work outside of the traditional 9-5 or across different time zones, but it can provide an additional level of security to some businesses that operate within specific parameters.

Data encryption is another important consideration, even more so on mobile devices. It’s likely that any company owned machines already have this in place, for some it is a legal requirement in order for them to do business, so it makes sense to replicate it across employee smartphones, laptops and tablets. Again, we recommend a consistent approach to ensure all devices have the same level of protection.

Innovation to increase BYOD security

One recent innovation that Keybridge IT recommends comes from Microsoft. Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) complements Microsoft’s other platforms like Office 365, and allows businesses to protect their assets with the ability to wipe devices remotely, without harming personal data. This is very useful if someone abruptly leaves the company, or a device is lost or stolen. It also takes measures to ensure data cannot be taken from the company setting, e.g.. copy and paste information from the business OneDrive account to Amazon Cloud storage. Coupled with the E3 Office subscription, data is encrypted and is ISO compliant. Additionally, it is useful to include a clause in employee contracts which gives the company the right to access their personal devices upon them leaving to ensure company data will not be taken with them or compromised.

The most critical innovation for flexibility has been Cloud IT applications and environments. With data and files stored in the cloud, and not on a local PC or server, access is simple and safe, and files are continuously backed up in a data centre. Notably, the security protocols of the Cloud system are automatically transferred to the device when users log in. However, it’s important to remember that they only apply when the user is logged into the Cloud, and if they transfer files to their desktop they will not be protected in the same way That’s why we recommend companies enforce a certain level of security on employee devices, so that they can build a strong line of defence whether someone is working on or off of the Cloud.

Staying safe whilst out and about

Working on the go often means accessing Wi Fi in places like coffee shops or on the train. It’s important that employees accessing company networks do so over secure Wi Fi connections only. It can be tempting to jump onto an unsecured network if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to create an account/password, but this is definitely not recommended. Unsecured networks put your data potentially into the hands of everyone else using that connection at the same time as you, which is a worrying thought.

You should also be aware of prying eyes. Catching up with emails on the train is standard practice for many employees using their smartphone for work, but can they be sure someone hasn’t seen them entering their password? Although we’re not suggesting everyone on your train carriage is a potential criminal, it makes sense to have your wits about you and be sensible when entering sensitive information, just as you would when entering your PIN at an ATM machine

Need help with BYOD and secure mobile working?

There’s no doubt that BYOD and mobile working deliver significant advantages to small and medium sized enterprises. We have helped many of our clients incorporate BYOD and mobile working into their IT strategy and use it as one of the many tools for stimulating business productivity and growth. If you’re looking for support and advice on BYOD and mobile working, please do get in touch with us at Keybridge IT, we would be very happy to help.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Andy Hinxman .

Explore these topics

Enjoy the read? Get Bdaily delivered.

Sign up to receive our popular morning National email for free.

* Occasional offers & updates from selected Bdaily partners

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read