The truth is, if you run a modern business, you’re going to incur cyber risk. Just about every business in existence today deals with some kind of technology, and even with the most secure computers or devices, there’s still some risk. However, some technologies increase risk more than others, and as a result, it’s up to each business to decide if the benefits of the technology outweigh the possible risk.
One area of particular concern to many businesses is the increase in the number of employees using personal laptops, tablets, and smartphones. In companies with Bring Your Own Device policies, employees are allowed to use their own mobile devices, generally laptops, smartphones, and tables, for work. Many companies have found that this drastically improves both flexibility and efficiency, but at the same time, exposes them to a greater degree of cyber risk.
While there’s no way to completely eliminate cyber risk, there ARE ways to reduce and/or manage it. Consider these ideas to make your BYOD policy safer:
Track Your Data Flow
If you know where your data is, it’s easier to track an exposure and to come up with the necessary evidence in case of a legal battle. Make sure to keep track not only of stored data, but where messages originate. Knowing where the potential leak started can help determine the possible spread, as well as assist in identifying solutions.
Implement Data Classification
Some data is so sensitive that exposure could cripple a company. Other data would pose no threat at all. If you classify your data based on its sensitivity and then restrict access based on it, you can reduce the chance that more important data finds itself on an employee’s device.
Provide Your Own Devices
This solution does even more than increase cyber security. By providing employees with company laptops, smartphones, or tablets, you gain the benefits of a BYOD policy without company data finding itself on a personal device. This ensures you access to the data if needed, gives you the right to inspect the devices, and provides no excuse for using personal devices at work.
Keep a Copy
There’s nothing strange about keeping copies of company data — you probably already do it for tax and legal reasons. Consider backing up any files an employee might take with them before they leave. This will provide any proof if an employee takes data and puts it on a personal device.
Every company with a BYOD policy incurs different risks, but by implementing these steps and assessing your potential problems, you can greatly reduce cyber risk. These solutions aren’t the end all be all, but they’re certainly a great first step.
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