BYOD Best Practices for Enterprises

Bring your own device (BYOD) enterprise programs have become commonplace across larger companies. It makes sense — most businesspeople are connected to multiple devices at any given time, from anywhere. When employees can access what they need to get work done at any time, it can be a significant benefit for enterprises.
Before granting employees access to your enterprise network on their personal devices, however, it’s critically important to develop a plan that prioritizes privacy and security and addresses common BYOD issues. These six best practices will help keep you and your employees on the same page when it comes to BYOD.

1. Create a Formal BYOD Policy

Your BYOD policy should be clear and formalized. Be sure to include details that cover BYOD issues, including:

  • Device requirements
  • Employee restrictions and usage stipulations
  • Security policies (password management, new device registration, updates, and so on)

Creating a standard set of rules all employees must follow when adding devices to the network will help ensure consistency across your enterprise. Be sure to revisit your BYOD policy regularly as employee BYOD use evolves over time.

2. Protect Employee Privacy

Protecting employee privacy is an important part of your BYOD policy and every decision you make around employee devices on your network. Be clear with employees about the degree to which their BYOD use can be monitored by management and IT personnel.

Will you have access to personal data stored on employee phones if they are connected to the network? Most likely, the answer is “no,” but employees may feel wary about the issue so clarifying it is important.

Be forthright about what you plan to access, how you plan to access it and why you need to access certain information in order to protect the enterprise network.

3. Promote Safe, Secure BYOD Usage

No matter how many safeguards you put in place, users themselves often represent the weak link in the chain. Many times, security measures fall short because networked users did not fully understand the potential impact of their behavior and network interactions. Clicking on malicious links is the most obvious example.

When you share security guidelines, be sure to give employees ample opportunity to ask questions, and provide straightforward reasoning for why certain security policies need to be followed.

For example, stress to employees that they should not connect BYOD to public WiFi, and explain why this behavior can lead to data breaches or other security risks.

Employee education is only part of the equation — your enterprise faces true financial and other statutory risks related to emerging consumer data privacy regulations. For example, companies face hefty fines and other negative repercussions each time they violate the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provisions. 

While it is usually relatively painless to comply with these regulations, employee buy-in is key. The whole enterprise needs to work toward the same goal of safeguarding data against theft, hacking and other data loss incidents. 

4. Enable Remote Device Wiping Capabilities

It’s important for your enterprise to be able to clear sensitive data from networked devices. When it comes to BYODs, this often needs to be completed remotely. As a best practice, when selecting software and hardware solutions to help your enterprise manage your BYOD policies, seek products that allow you to remotely wipe devices quickly. Corporate and personal partitions is a feature of some enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions.

A few minutes can make a huge difference when it comes to stopping a breach or hack in progress.

5. Develop a Lost or Stolen Device Policy

At an enterprise level, it is inevitable that the occasional networked device will be lost or stolen. Take a proactive stance so you’re not left scrambling.

Your lost or stolen device policy should include a way for users to report lost and stolen devices as soon as possible, to reduce the amount of time your network could be sitting vulnerable.

6. Properly Remove Devices as Needed

When BYODs need to be removed from the roster, it is important to follow the same steps each time. For employees who are leaving the company, this will help ensure that an employee’s personal device can no longer connect to the enterprise network.

In cases where the employee no longer uses a device, this will help to ensure that a potential new user won’t have access to the network.

Be Vigilant

Employees expect to work on their personal devices these days, and that's a good thing for productivity. But for IT folks, compliance and security are headaches - make sure you have the tools to make their jobs easier.