A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy presents challenges for organizations—and solving those challenges is important. As companies expand remote work options and employees use personal devices to make up for a lack of available corporate-owned devices, there is a pressing need for a solid BYOD policy.
A BYOD policy can help businesses effectively manage and secure remote work, but user authentication, cyber risk monitoring and network maintenance are critical parts of its success. To formulate your personal device strategy, your IT department must already have a solid BYOD network design in place—one that includes secure methods of access for a variety of devices and one that's secured wired or wireless network remote access through a virtual private network or a layered security mechanism.
Once you determine the security of your BYOD network design, it is time to create a solid strategy for your remote workers.
What is a BYOD policy?
A BYOD policy governs how your employees' personally owned devices connect to your corporate network and access your company data. It has no inherent set rules—it can and should support whatever works best for your organizations—but it should outline the types of devices used and the basics of the approval process for BYOD usage so that IT and security teams can watch for unauthorized connections and potential cyber threats.
A strong BYOD policy is especially important in environments where multiple people are sharing a device, which opens the door to increased risks to the network and its data. Authorized devices should look to meet certain security standards, too, such as proof of firewalls, use of encryption for data transmission and storage, updated security, fully patched software, secure passwords and approved apps and cloud services.
Your BYOD network design strategy will likely include rules you've not previously considered. For example, does a home router or an Internet of Things device fall under the BYOD umbrella? If so, what steps should be taken to decrease their potential security risks? People might relax their standards with home routers, using a default password, allowing anyone visiting the home to access their Wi-Fi network or ignoring firmware patches. To bypass this security threat, organizations should either require every personal device to connect through a virtual private network; failing that, IT should be available to help remote workers set up secure router connections.
Consider setting up a guest network for any unsecured devices, such as those used by contractors and visitors who need access to your network. By segregating unauthorized personal devices from your network, you add an extra layer of security without having to restructure your network architecture. A guest network will also keep your bandwidth usage under control.