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How to Make BYOD Successful and Secure in a Hybrid Workplace

Melissa Gaffney | October 4, 2022

Melissa Gaffney

October 4, 2022

We live in a hyper-connected world where having a smartphone or device has become an extension of our personal and working lives. Unfortunately with this increased connectivity, rampant cybercrime has become endemic to our system of devices where privacy and security can no longer be guaranteed. With the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), many organizations have outdated IT policies that don’t support an agile hybrid workforce by enabling them to work from anywhere. The Verizon Mobile Security Index (MSI) 2022 reveals that 79% of respondents agreed that recent changes to working practices have adversely affected their organization’s cybersecurity. Your current IT policy shouldn’t hold your company and employees back from embracing BYOD.

The following checklist outlines five key areas that should be cornerstones for a successful and secure BYOD in a hybrid workplace.

Security Audit

Companies can have hundreds of devices connected to their network at any given time. When a device is compromised it can have an immediate impact on employee productivity. An audit can identify gaps and expose issues with the controls in your current security systems, allowing you to address them before a cybercriminal takes advantage of the weaknesses in your systems. Thorough and regularly scheduled security audits are essential for any organization and will paint a clear picture of cybersecurity risks in your environment. The steps involved in a security audit are determined by the compliance strategy your organization needs to take. The most common steps include:

  1. Determine the scope and priority assets
  2. List potential threats and assess current level of security
  3. Run scans on IT resources
  4. Report the results
  5. Take necessary action

Enforce Strong Passwords and 2FA

Multi-level authentication (sometimes known as multi-factor authentication, or two-factor authentication/2FA) is the process of requiring multiple steps for a user to prove they are who they say they are. This helps prevent hackers from infiltrating secure networks with compromised passwords. When building BYOD policies; request each personal device that accesses workplace apps should activate 2FA to log in, including biometric access if available. Security and IT professionals consider multi-factor authentication to be the most effective security control to have in place for the purpose of protecting both on-premises and public cloud data.

Employee Cybersecurity Training

Cybersecurity training is a critical aspect of any BYOD program, especially in a hybrid workplace. Proper training will ensure that employees are aware of prospective security concerns and are equipped to handle issues that may arise.

Employees also need to be made aware of what networks they’re allowed to access, and what information is and isn’t permitted to be stored on their devices. For example, if a device that has passwords, banking information, and corporate data recorded on it and it becomes compromised, cybercriminals can use it as a gateway to further infiltrate a corporate network. As such, corporate data, logins, and other sensitive information must, if at all feasible, not be saved. (At the very least, multi-factor authentication should be required.) These policies will vary by institution, but always need to be communicated effectively and repeatedly.

Network regulations should also be implemented. The Verizon MSI 2022 report found that 85% of respondents said home Wi-Fi and cellular networks/hotspots are allowed or there is no policy against them, and 68% allow or have no policy against the use of public Wi-Fi. Some workplaces offer guest WiFi and employee WiFi. These typically have different permissions and access levels, so an effective BYOD policy should clarify which network employees should connect to.

An effective BYOD policy may also recommend that if an off site employee is using their device to access company data, they should avoid connecting to free or public WiFi networks if a VPN is not available.

Mobile Application Security Testing

Using MAST to proactively scan your device is a non-intrusive and proactive mobile security solution that ensures a higher level of security and privacy for mobile apps and mobile devices.

Regularly scanning devices can help prevent malware or other data breaches. Quokka’s fully-automated Q-MAST platform detects security, privacy, and code quality issues on iOS and Android Apps, without needing to access the source code.

Keep all Apps and OS Systems Updated

It’s important to update your operating system and applications with the latest version to help eliminate flaws that can leave important data open for hackers to access. You will often get update alerts on your device when new versions of approved apps or software is available. Many times updates to these OS systems and applications include revamped configurations and patches that decrease the likelihood of a security incident.

The threat of security breaches is only mounting, so the time to implement proper cybersecurity measures is now.

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