Ensuring strong cybersecurity when your employees are using their own devices

It can be difficult enough to protect your business network when all of the equipment and devices are company-owned and under one roof. This is a feat that becomes even more difficult when members of your workforce use their own devices for business purposes.

However, this is a reality that a wide range of small and medium-sized businesses are facing. On the surface, adopting a “bring your own device” format provides a good amount of benefits for your company. Business decision-makers often gravitate to this approach because it:

  • Saves money. It’s a no-brainer — why equip every single member of your business with a costly device when they might be willing and able to use their own to execute essential business functions?
  • Is preferable for an employee. Many men and women opt to work with their own device because they are most familiar with it and it’s very convenient.
  • Can be more productive. This falls in line with the fact that employees are more familiar with their own devices. They won’t require training on a foreign device or carry around multiple devices.

Case closed: Using your own devices is the way to go, right?

Well, it doesn’t come without its share of cybersecurity concerns. When your employees are using their own devices, they are connecting a foreign device to your business network and applications. This isn’t a problem as long as you take certain cybersecurity measures.

 

Craft a comprehensive mobile device policy

This is step number one, and it’s going to set the tone for how successful your “bring your own device” efforts will be. Spell out everything that an employee will need to know about using his or her own device for business purposes.

This can be anything from identifying which applications they can access and which ones will be restricted (you will want to provide limited access), what to do if they lose a device and the necessary steps they must take if they end up leaving the company.

Not only should you be putting pen to paper to outline this important policy, but you should also be investing in employee education. We’ve written a lot on this blog about how employees serve as the softest point in your company’s cybersecurity plan. Each employee needs to be up to speed on how to avoid breaches.

 

Mobile device management and security

Business owners, and their IT teams, have access to device management tools that allow them to effectively manage the business-related data on an employee’s device without having to pick through their personal data. It’s possible to closely manage your network and data, even when employees are engaging with them on their own devices.

The same applies to security measures — you can implement some of the following to make sure that data is safe on individual devices.

  • Virtual private network (VPN)
  • Firewalls
  • Endpoint security
  • Gateways
  • And more

Having employees use their own devices at work is a great idea. Just make sure that you’re thorough in your efforts to manage this process before data and network access starts falling into the wrong hands.