Tips for Managing a Strong BYOD Policy
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement allows small and midsize businesses to save money on technology, and it's popular among employees as it lets them to use the device of their choice for business-related purposes. While a strong BYOD policy can help improve productivity, one without proper computer and cell phone security regulations in place can bring big trouble to the business. If you're considering allowing employees at your company to bring their own tech to the office, here are a few essential policies you must put in place to keep data secure:
Give IT Control
If you're a business manager, you may think you're savvy when it comes to preventing data breaches, but such vital matters are probably best handled by a person with extensive IT training. Bringing an IT representative onto the team will allow you to focus on running the business while this individual manages technology, making sure all employees are adhering to policies. The IT head's role shouldn't be that of a police dog - instead, he or she should be available to make sure employees have someone to go to for training on how to use equipment safely. This IT professional will also be the one you turn to if the unthinkable happens and you do suffer a security breach.
Standardize What You Can
Your employees will have different preferences when it comes to technology - some will prefer Apple products, others will be Android loyalists, and you're likely to find Windows and BlackBerry users in the bunch as well. Diversity among different pieces of technology is OK, but there should be some standard practices across the board. For example, you may want to have your IT manager research which mobile browsers are the most secure, then require all employees to install this program on their smart phones. You can let employees know that they can use other web-surfing browsers while at home, but they should follow office policy when conducting business on their mobile devices. In a similar vein, it's not a bad idea to distribute a list of banned apps and websites, as certain programs or pages can lead to harmful viruses.
Personal vs. Private
The biggest challenge in a BYOD environment is ensuring that users who play fast and loose with security while at home don't carry security issues into the workplace. For this reason, it may be a good idea to add a few measures to make sure employees keep personal and business matters separate. In addition to work-related email accounts, you can provide your staff with additional phone numbers to be used strictly for business purposes. This way, if their personal number is compromised, it can easily be trashed and replaced without compromising their business contacts.
BYOD policies are particularly beneficial for growing businesses, but even the smallest startups can fall victim to internet scams and viruses. Before you roll out your BYOD plan, make sure all members of your staff know how to use their devices safely in an office environment.