How SMBs Can Manage BYOD and Maintain Security

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In a previous post, we explained why small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) are increasingly taking advantage of mobility and adopting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies. Mobility can improve productivity, flexibility, collaboration and customer service by providing employees with anytime, anywhere access to corporate data and communication tools from devices they know and like.

However, many SMBs are creating security nightmares by failing to develop formal BYOD policies and best practices that keep the network secure. Many organizations also deal with performance slowdowns because they don’t have the network infrastructure or bandwidth to support the influx of mobile devices and traffic. Once you’ve determined that your organization is mobile-ready, there are steps you can take to manage a BYOD environment and keep your network secure.

Create and enforce a formal BYOD policy that clearly defines how personal mobile devices should be used in the workplace, what applications should be used and for what purpose. It should lay out best practices for securing devices and company data, provide guidelines for creating strong passwords and updating them regularly, and explain how to configure privacy settings at the device level and application level. In addition to developing a written policy, these topics should be covered in mandatory employee training sessions.

Data segregation is critically important. Company data should be saved and backed up on the company server and never on the device, while personal data should never be saved on the company server. Processes for segregating and storing data must be developed and tested.

Social media usage must be controlled in a BYOD environment. Social media platforms make it difficult to segregate personal and company information, and their privacy policies are always changing. It is incumbent upon organizational leadership to develop social media policies that identify what applications may be accessed on mobile devices based on the whether the application is essential to business operation and the security risk it presents.

SMBs that implement a BYOD strategy should consider utilizing mobile device management (MDM) software. MDM simplifies the management of mobile devices and the deployment of business applications to users. The issues discussed above are largely automated with MDM.

Administrators can create a comprehensive profile for each mobile device and configure device policies that make it easier to control access to applications and company data. Using MDM, applications and data on each mobile device can be monitored, logged and reconfigured from a single management console, while application updates and security patch deployments are automated. MDM software also separates personal data from company data, which is then encrypted and secured. If a device is lost or stolen, data wiping, password updating and device locking can be done remotely.

Atlantic-IT.net offers a number of solutions for managing, monitoring and securing your BYOD environment in a way that reduces costs and expands your IT capabilities. Let us be your outsourced IT department and help you take full advantage of mobility and BYOD.