Strategies to Secure Your Enterprise in the New World of BYOD
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies-or allowing employees to use personal laptops, tablets and smartphones for work-related tasks-benefits employers and users in compelling ways. Workers get to use the device they are most comfortable with, and employers reap increased productivity benefits.
But sensitive corporate data is highly likely vulnerable to theft on employee-owned mobile devices - especially if you don't know what device are in use. This threat only increases as employees buy new tablets, smartphones and other new technology.
Below are four strategies your company should implement to keep data secure without discouraging employees' choice to use their own device.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies-or allowing employees to use personal laptops.
1. Encrypt All Data
According to one study, 31 percent of corporate employees who use a laptop for work will connect to their company's through a public Wi-Fi connection, which is most likely unencrypted. No BYOD policy can fully prevent that from happening.
Employees using public, often unencrypted Wi-Fi connections is one of the most significant and prevalent exposure points. To curb this security risk, IT groups should distribute and manage Virtual Private Network (VPN) solutions for all mobile devices. These tools encrypt transmitted data regardless of where or how it is accessed through mobile devices.
Establishing guidelines for remote access is also critical. These rules should specify operating system-such as iOS and Android-are supported as each comes with unique benefits and challenges.
2. Have a Plan for Lost or Stolen Devices
Experts recommend IT teams have specific lost or stolen device action plans written into BYOD policies. This should include such steps as changing email, Dropbox and other passwords if they were installed on the device.
The help desk should also install remote wiping and locking solutions on BYOD devices, which can be included in the mobile device management (MDM) solution.
3. Monitor and Control Network Use
Help service desk managers should also use MDM to keep a lookout for network bottlenecks and ensure compliance with BYOD policies.
Granting BYOD users network access on two or three devices is great for productivity, but this can also tax networks. Axios Systems Executive Vice President Markos Symeonides recommends IT teams integrate service desk software with an MDM that delivers real-time network use data. These systems track when a device signs in, what users access, and whether it's configured with the appropriate security software.
"MDM populates the service desk product, but the service desk is responsible for actually making sense of all that information and acting on it, "Symeonides says. Another option is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution, which equips IT teams with tools for monitoring network, server and storage performance. It identifies a device causing a slowdown and automatically notifies an agent. Depending on the issue, they can then triage the issue to the appropriate response team.
4. Install Anti-malware/virus Infrastructure and Educate Users
Malware creation hit record highs last year with a reported 26 million new strains in circulation. This malicious software can wreak havoc on your company's security if an infected smartphone, tablet or laptop is connected to your company's network or email.
To combat these threats, IT teams should equip devices with anti-virus and anti-malware systems. These functions are sometimes wrapped into VPN or MDM software. Others can be installed separately to fight exposure to viruses, malware and spammers.
The New Help Desk Investment
All of these strategies add up to a significant shift in help operations and spending. The cost seem daunting, but the decision now is not whether to make the investment but rather how much risk you are willing to take by doing nothing.
By Ashley Furness, guest blogger and Market Analyst for Software Advice.