BYOD & Workplace Security

February 15th, 2018 by admin

There has been a boom of BYOD workplaces in recent years. This means “bring your own device” not “bring your own drink” (or “bring your own drums” like I hoped it was). BYOD companies benefit by having lower employee startup costs, and the employees benefit from more freedom and power over their work. But if there is one thing we learned from Uncle Ben, it’s that “With great power, comes great responsibility.” (Spiderman, 2004, RIP Ben) Similarly, with great workflow, comes great security risk. To help with this, we’ve got security tips. Bring Your Own Device workplaces are where employees work from their own laptop, tablet, abacus etc. Businesses that do this usually have their IT infrastructure set up in a way that employees can access work resources from their personal devices and all they need is an internet connection. If you have a lot of devices connecting to your network from a bunch of different locations, the issue of security is paramount. IBM Security has a great document outlining some top rules to secure a BYOD network, unfortunately it’s completely riddled with jargon and drier than the Sahara. I took the liberty of translating a few key passages:  

Create your policy before procuring your technology

“Like any other IT project, policy must precede technology” Translation: Setting up expensive or complicated infrastructure without a plan is like sending large stacks of cash through a wood chipper, but at least it’s not a felony.  

Find the devices that are accessing corporate resources

“You likely have more devices accessing your network than you’re willing to admit… What you don’t know can hurt you.” Translation: Your employees and coworkers are probably on Facebook right now, they should at least use a firewall.  

Make enrollment simple

(I can’t even ask you to read the original on this one, it’s like eating a peanut butter sandwich on the sun) “You want the ability to enroll devices in bulk—or for users to self-enroll their devices. You also need to authenticate employees with a basic authentication process such as a one-time passcode or use existing corporate directories such as Microsoft Active Directory/Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (AD/LDAP).” Translation: It should be easy to add and remove devices/users from the network. Users should have passwords. Sentences should be short.  

Protect the privacy of your employees

“A well-crafted BYOD program will keep personal employee data off your screen… Communicate the privacy policy to employees and make it clear what is and is not collected from their devices.” Translation: You don’t want to know what people do with their free time. Make sure everyone knows what folders and apps are public, and knows how to keep their personal data private.  

Continually monitor devices for noncompliance

“Devices should be continuously monitored for certain scenarios, and automated policies should be in place.” Translation: When everyone is using their own device, each device is a portal to mess up every device. That’s kinda deep... It’s also a major problem you need to address. Once you have a policy in place, it’s important for everyone’s security that devices are monitored for vulnerabilities. Just try not to go 1984 with it.   That was the final text of the manuscript. IBM knows IT security and workflow pretty well, and we know how to make IT simple. Hopefully you’ve found this breakdown useful or entertaining.  Don’t hesitate to message us with your questions or comments.     Kender Ostlund

Posted in: Protection, Security, Productivity, Technology