Protecting Employee Privacy in a BYOD Environment

Feb 27, 2013 16:11:43Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Protecting Employee Privacy in a BYOD Environment

A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy can help small and midsize businesses save big bucks. Instead of having to purchase new smart phones and tablets for each employee, companies can allow workers to bring their own devices to the office. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this trend - letting staff use their own mobile phones increases the risk of important business data being compromised. Here are some ways business owners can protect their company and employee privacy while still allowing BYOD.

Thorough Training With IT
The most important defense you can have when employing a BYOD policy is thorough security training. Each and every employee using a mobile device in the office should know how to spot malware, viruses and other scamming attempts. This form of training is a job best suited for your IT department, as they are likely already well-versed in the world of mobile security. Make sure they are available to answer any questions that may come up after you've carried out the training.

Device Limitations
Not all mobile devices are created equal. While the big names in the industry, like Samsung, Apple and Google, have taken measures to make sure their devices are secure, you may find that some of your employees have lesser-known (and thus less secure) phones. Before you agree to let your employees start using their equipment at work, ask them to submit the device to your IT department for review. Once the experts there have looked it over, it can be approved for in-office use.

Creating Separate Profiles
Employees may develop strong security practices at work, but you won't have much control over how they use their phone while at home. This means that any business data stored on their devices could be compromised if they use their phone unsafely while out of the office. To prevent such complications, it may be best to provide each of your employees with a temporary phone number that can be used exclusively for business-related matters. If they should compromise their phone and begin receiving scamming texts or phone calls, you can eliminate and replace the business number, thus stemming some of the potential issues.

If you're an up-and-coming business looking for a way to save costs, employing a BYOD policy is the way to go. However, if you don't take measures to ensure your workers are using their devices wisely, the whole thing could blow up in your face, so make security your top concern.