In today’s work, culture companies are adopting ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) technology and policies, allowing for more flexible work practices, greater productivity, and savings on IT hardware. However, BYOD can also pose a major cybersecurity threat. All it takes is one unsecured device to compromise an entire network, resulting in data or financial theft. A robust security policy can minimize the risks.

 

Four tips to add to your BYOD policy

 

When employees bring their own devices to work, it means you have less control over how devices used in the workplace are secured e.g. passwords used and how up-to-date software and apps are, which could pose security threats to your business. Businesses need to make sure a sound BYOD policy is in place which includes the key protective advice against cyber threats so that your employees are aware of the risks and their role in combatting these.

The first step is to educate your staff about secure online behaviours to mitigate risks of data theft. The following tips can be embedded into BYOD policies, as well as staff training.

1.Use a strong, separate password for your email account
Advise your staff to create strong, separate passwords for their email accounts, as hackers can use email as a gateway to gain valuable information. The best passwords use three random words or numbers to create a strong password.

2.Always backup your most important data
Safeguard your business’s most important data by backing it up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system. If an employee’s device is infected by a virus or accessed by a hacker, your data may be damaged, deleted or held to ransom by ransomware, which means you won’t be able to access it. Backing up your data means you have another copy of it and can’t be held to ransom.

3.Install the latest software and app updates
Ensure you and your colleagues always download the latest software and app updates on all devices used for work – whether it’s a work mobile or a home computer. These contain vital security upgrades which protect devices from viruses and hackers. This is one of the most important actions people and businesses can take to protect themselves from cybercrime.

4.Secure your tablet or smartphone with a screen lock
Part of your BYOD policy should also require that staff employ a screen lock, as it will give devices an extra layer of security, as each time they want to unlock it or turn it on, they will need to enter a PIN, pattern, password or fingerprint. This means if someone gets hold of a device, they can’t access the data without entering one of these credentials.

There is no doubt that BYOD has transformed the world of work, in many cases for the better, but with this change also comes new risks. Engaging with these measures – and following the latest advice – is critical. Not only do you have to be robust in your business processes but in how your team manage their own cybersecurity. It’s an investment worth making.