In the past few years, businesses have encountered a host of new trends that have revolutionized how companies work. The once-trending BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has now become commonplace in no time. Several businesses have adopted BYOD, enabling their employees to use their smartphones, tablets and laptops for work. BYOD can be a great option for small and medium businesses (SMBs) as it helps save upfront equipment costs and improves employee satisfaction as people use their own devices.
BYOD policies vary depending on your industry, size, and business needs. BYOD variations include BYOT (bring your own technology), BYOC (bring your own computer), BYOP (bring your own phone), and BYOL (you guessed it right, bring your own laptop). As an SMB, if you do not have a BYOD policy in store yet, now is a good time to get started.
Employees generally overlook antiviruses, firewalls, and OS and app updates. Thus, a BYOD policy is important for several reasons. Also, when employees leave your organization, their devices still have corporate data and passwords stored on them. BYOD policy helps configure extensive security settings and push them on your employee devices without hampering privacy or device usability.
BYOD Policies for Small Businesses: 5 considerations
A BYOD policy is a set of rules that govern corporate data and resources on employee devices in a specific way. MDM-enabled BYOD management simplifies the efforts SMBs would make to provision employee devices manually and monitor them for compliance.
Here are five things SMBs must consider when adopting a BYOD work environment.
1. Ensuring Employee Privacy
SMBs aren’t organizations with a large workforce. Hence, employee satisfaction holds a lot of importance. Despite the flexibility and familiarity of devices that BYOD work environments offer, you may experience resistance to BYOD management from employees. The main reason behind this is threatened employee privacy. To keep corporate data secure on employee devices, sometimes enterprise IT admins push extensive settings and restrictions.
Employees will be hesitant in allowing their company to take control of their devices. And rightly so. No one would like IT admins peeping into their photo galleries or social media posts or even browsing behavior.
A BYOD policy for SMBs must ensure that while corporate data stays safe, employee user experience isn’t tampered with too much. Features like containerization play a vital role in keeping employees’ personal data separate from corporate data. Using containerization lets you push countless security policies on your employee’s work container, without modifying the usability of the rest of the device. This also lowers BYOD resistance among employees.
2. Corporate Data Protection
Data breaches are financial disasters for even the most affluent organizations, but for SMBs, such breaches can turn out to be catastrophic and deadly. To sum up the devastation, a report suggests that 66% of SMBs would shut down within six months if a data breach strikes them. One of the key objectives of a BYOD policy is corporate data security. Your BYOD policy must ensure that your BYOD workers aren’t the reason for corporate data breaches—accidental or intentional.
Employees are more prone to encountering external security threats when using their personal devices. For example, employees can share their device with a friend or access a public Wi-Fi network from a neighborhood coffee shop. In such cases, a momentary lapse in attention can ultimately end up making an SMB file for bankruptcy.
Devising a BYOD strategy with robust security features like passcode policies and data encryption and backup can go a long way in preventing data breaches. SMBs can also restrict the copying of data between personal and work apps.
3. Securing Data on Lost, Stolen, or Retired Devices
Mobile devices are one of the prime reasons that businesses are experiencing success in enterprise mobility. Mobile devices offer high flexibility and help businesses operate with a distributed workforce. SMBs have also started embracing enterprise mobility in some way or the other. However, SMBs need to keep a close eye on employee devices that are under BYOD purview. Managing the risks entailed with lost, stolen, or retired devices is necessary.
Employees misplacing their personal devices that contain business data can be a nightmare for SMB IT teams. The wise thing to do when embracing a BYOD work environment is to leverage an MDM solution. MDM tools empower you to instantly wipe the confidential corporate data stored in work containers of employee devices. It prevents corporate data loss or abuse even when the employee device falls into the wrong hands. The data wipe feature is also beneficial for SMBs when a BYOD employee retires, takes a sabbatical, or leaves the organization.
4. Assigning Access Privileges
As remote working and BYOD environments get widespread adoption, SMBs need to move toward the zero-trust approach. The zero-trust approach lets you reinforce your corporate security by demanding any and every person, whether they belong to your organization or not, to authenticate themselves before accessing your business networks. Similarly, multi-factor authentications or conditional access policies play a vital role in ensuring that access is granted only to authorized personnel.
5. Network Security
Mandating VPN on employee devices helps SMBs ensure that employees have a secure remote connection to their corporate networks. Employees working remotely are easy targets for hackers. Remember that neighborhood coffee shop we mentioned earlier? A bad actor harping around can unleash a calamitous attack on employee devices connected to an insecure network. Browsing malicious websites can also spell doom at the blink of an eyelid. This is where VPN adds a much-needed security cushion or layer to the corporate data of SMBs.
Despite the challenges, BYOD work environments aren’t fading away anytime soon. The most effective way for SMBs to overcome security challenges and ensure a streamlined BYOD policy is to make use of an MDM solution. Scalefusion MDM offers powerful capabilities that help SMBs execute a BYOD policy with minimum fuss and also provide employees a certain degree of device usage freedom that they crave.