The BYOD Policy: Does it Help or Antagonize Cybersecurity?

Everyone can agree, mobile devices are fantastic, and not just for Candy Crush! Smartphones and tablets have transformed the way we work, freeing us from our offices and cubicles and allowing us to work from anywhere. Many companies are encouraging employees to bring their own devices to work with what has been cleverly called BYOD.

It's no surprise that BYOD policies are growing in popularity as they allow workers to use the technologies they prefer while also decreasing operating costs for companies who no longer have to provide computers for every employee. That's probably why small businesses are quickly embracing BYOD. According to one estimate, 75 percent of all companies either permit or plan to permit BYOD workplaces.

However, BYOD isn't all good news. Personal mobile devices are far less secure than machines operated and overseen by IT departments, and these same devices can infected with malware and disrupt (and even lay waste) to a company's network infrastructure.

While these tips are part of your first line of defense, CyberPolicy recommends investing in cyber security insurance to protect your business in case of a security breach.

Employee Education

While BYOD boosts employee satisfaction, it doesn't do much for company security. Sad to say, 80 percent of all breaches result from some type of employee negligence. It is absolutely vital to train employees to identify possible threats including malware downloads and phishing scams − which, incidentally, have made the jump to mobile thanks to savvy cyber crooks.

Instructing your employees about best practices will greatly reduce the likelihood of hacker infiltration.

Implement Passwords and PIN Protections

Of course, sneaky infiltration software isn't the only way cybercriminals break into your devices to steal  your most valuable data . Compromising your cybersecurity could be as easy as leaving your laptop or cell phone at the coffee shop. Whoops!

Implement policies requiring password or PIN protection for all mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops; in addition to remote wipe and device locator software.

Limit Shadow IT
It's not just the devices we use (or where we leave them), it's also the programs we use. Shadow IT is the term used for any software used inside an organization without explicit approval. While it may seem innocent enough to download a free or open−source application from the internet, the truth is that these technologies often leave security blind spots for IT teams.

Any employee storing sensitive personal, financial or business information on their laptop or smartphone could find themselves vulnerable to prying coders. Certain flashlight, alarm clock and gaming apps are just a few examples of free applications known to lurk on user information.

Ask your employees to disclose their applications to IT to best ensure total visibility.

Be Wary of Free Wi−Fi
While BYOD empowers employees to work from anywhere, it shouldn't encourage them to work from any connection. Unaware users sharing information over insecure or fraudulent Wi−Fi connections could fall prey to digital eavesdroppers. Security News Desk reports that one in five organizations suffered mobile security breach, primarily drive by malware and malicious Wi−Fi.

Encourage employees to work only from encrypted Wi−Fi networks they know and trust.

While these tips can prevent many breaches before they start, they cannot help you once a hacker has infiltrated your device or network. Investing in cyber security insurance can protect your most valuable data and assets in the event of a cybersecurity breach.

Receive your cyber security insurance estimate from CyberPolicy today to see what we can do to protect your BYOD workplace.

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