The holiday season is here and Santa may be thinking that getting new cell phones for the office is a great idea. And why not? The feature list of mobile devices continues to grow, and many are finding it more comfortable and more productive to use these devices, not only for personal purposes, but also for work. This may seem to be a good idea initially, but it also means that you may have less control over the way these devices access your IT systems.
A Security Policy for Personal Devices is A Must!
Not having one can be a dangerous thing. If these devices aren’t company owned and regulated, you have limited access and control over how they are used. Employees could download all sorts of malware and viruses on their devices and pass the infection along to your IT system when they access it.
The double challenge of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is the mix of corporate and employee owned devices accessing the organization’s network and data, and the use of those devices for both professional and personal purposes. With data flowing across public networks, to and from devices that are easily lost or stolen, protecting data becomes a paramount concern and the primary driving force for implementing Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems and policies.
Security must be a key component of your company’s workforce mobility strategy in order to protect corporate data, maintain compliance, mitigate risk and ensure mobile security across all devices. Most people aren’t aware that their actions on mobile devices (company-owned or not) can have dire consequences for the entire organization.
It’s important that you find a compromise between the freedom of the employee to use the device as desired and your need to keep your IT system safe from viruses and other threats to your data’s security. Steps such as having employees run Mobile Device Management software on their devices is one of many actions you can take to lessen the risk of security breaches. You may also want to implement applications and software that check and screen for malware, both for laptops and mobile devices. And don’t forget that while Android seems to have a bigger problem with malicious software, Apple isn’t exactly virus-free, either.
Employees have a right to use their personal devices as they see fit, but not at the expense of important company information stored in your IT system. Your company has a requirement to protect its information assets in order to safeguard it’s customers, intellectual property and reputation. Running a tight ship in terms of security is an effective way to protect these business interests and sensitive company data. An effective IT security policy will address both personal device use as well as general system access.
Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group. Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call – 604.270.1730. Your comments are appreciated –ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com