Guidelines for Firms on ‘Bring Your Own Device’

Many employees now own personal mobile devices that can be used for business purposes and firms are receiving an increasing number of requests to allow employees to use them at work notes law firm Goodman Derrick, which is offering bring-your-own-device (BYOD) tips and recommendations.

The benefits of BYOD for businesses include increased flexibility and efficiency in working practices; improved employee morale and job satisfaction and a reduction in business costs. The downside is that the BYOD boom has been matched with an upsurge in cyber crime. The use of personal mobile devices for business purposes increases the risk of damage to a business’s IT resources and communications systems; confidential and proprietary information; and corporate reputation.

As personal mobile devices are owned, maintained and supported by the user, rather than by the business, firms have significantly less control over the device than they would normally have over a traditional corporately-owned and provided device.

Securing data stored on the device

As firms are responsible for protecting company data stored on personal mobile devices they should, therefore, implement security measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful access to the business’s systems or company data, for example:

  • Requiring the use of a strong password to secure the device.
  • Using encryption to store data on the device securely.
  • Ensuring that access to the device is locked or data automatically deleted if an incorrect password is inputted too many times.
  • Ensuring that employees understand what type of data can be stored on a personal device and what type of data cannot.

Mobile Device Management

Mobile device management software allows a business to manage and configure remotely many aspects of personal mobile devices. Typical features include automatically locking the device after a period of inactivity;
executing a remote wipe of the device; and preventing the installation of unapproved apps.

Firms wishing to monitor employees’ use of personal mobile devices must make the reasons for monitoring clear; and explain the benefits they expect will be delivered by monitoring – for example, preventing misuse of the device. They must also ensure that monitoring technology remains proportionate.

As the biggest cause of data loss is still the physical loss or theft of a personal mobile device, firms should ensure that a process is in place for quickly and effectively revoking access to a device reported lost or stolen. They should also consider registering devices with a remote locate and wipe facility to maintain confidentiality of the data in the event of a loss or theft.

Transferring data

BYOD arrangements generally involve the transfer of data between the personal mobile device and the business’ systems. This process can present risks. Data should be transferred via an encrypted channel which offers the maximum protection.

Employees should be encouraged to avoid using public cloud-based sharing platforms which have not been fully assessed and firms should consider providing guidance to employees on how to assess the security of wi-fi networks, such as those in hotels or cafes.

Lastly, firms should consider how they will manage data held on an employee’s personal mobile device should the employee leave the business.

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