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How IT Management Can React To Risks Brought About By Users Connecting Their Own Devices To The Network

November 24 2014

Allowing users to connect their own devices to the network can pose security threats, so you need to minimise the risks with encryption and security software

 

Today many businesses allow their employees to work remotely and use their own devices to carry out tasks. Whilst this all sounds very well and good, the problem is that they could be putting their entire business at risk by granting these unsecure devices access to their network. Here we will explain how IT management can minimise the risks of users connecting their own device to the network and provide tips for handling ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) in the workplace.

 

What are the risks of BYOD

Whilst some businesses have largely embraced BYOD, IT departments have been far more wary. The problem is that without proper control over users’ devices and strict policies, there is the potential for widespread chaos within a business, including data loss and security breaches.

Thankfully there are a number of things IT managers can do to reduce the risk of allowing users to connect their own devices to the network and ensure their devices can be used safely and productively.

Checkout a related infographic – “BYOD, Bring your own device, but protect it”.

 

How to manage the risks of BYOD

If you are going to allow your employees to connect their own devices to your business network, the first thing you need to do is set a strict BYOD policy. This policy should outline acceptable use of devices at home and at work, who is eligible for BYOD, which devices are allowed, which websites or Cloud services employees are permitted to access for business purposes and consequences of not following the policy. It’s important that all of your employees agree to uphold the policy and understand that if their device is lost, stolen or compromised in any way, all of its data will be wiped.

 

Install security software on employees’ devices

You will need your employees to agree to have security software installed on their devices. Investing in an endpoint protection suite will ensure that your employees’ mobiles, tablets and personal laptops are protected from viruses, malware and other security threats. In order to keep your software costs to a minimum, you may want to consider Cloud-based security apps.

 

Safeguard data with encryption

Personal devices, particularly smartphones are more susceptible to getting lost or stolen, so you need to regulate how users transfer and store data and ensure it is safeguarded. The best way to do this is to ensure the devices are encrypted. This will mean that any data, regardless of whether it is stored in a file, an email attachment or in the Cloud, will not be viewable to unauthorised users.

 

Remote access for wiping data

It is also recommended that you ensure that you have remote access to all of your employees’ devices. In the case of a personal device being lost or stolen, employees will be required to report it to you so that you can wipe all of the data from it and prevent it from ending up in the wrong hands.

 

Network connectivity management software

Something IT departments will find very useful in managing connections between personal devices and the business network is network connectivity management software. This will help to prevent unauthorised users from being able to access the network by using certificate-based two-factor authentication when a user tries to connect their device to the network via VPN or Wi-Fi.

 

Conclusion

Rather than trying to talk a business out of allowing BYOD in the workplace, it is recommended that IT managers act early and ensure the necessary precautions are in place. Ensuring your business has the right security software and educating employees with a strict BYOD policy will go a long way in reducing the risks brought about by users connecting their own devices to the network. Call Grant McGregor today to discuss your strategy moving forwards.

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