BYOD Policy: Getting it Right

What is a BYOD Policy?

A bring your own device (BYOD) policy is a set of guidelines that define proper work and use of employee-owned devices, such as personal computers (PCs), laptops, smartphones, and tablets. The goal of a BYOD is to ensure that corporate assets, including networks, systems, and data, are protected against shadow IT threats.

A BYOD policy is created according to the unique and agile needs of the organization, which is why the policy is highly flexible and varies between organizations and industries. For example, one organization might opt to allow BYOD laptops but prohibit mobile devices, while another might agree to support mobile devices.

Why is BYOD Policy Important?

A BYOD policy can help employees understand when and how they can use their own devices for work purposes and access company data. Here are key advantages of adopting a formal BYOD policy:

  • Reduce costs— According to Cisco, a BYOD policy can help organizations save an average of $350 per employee, annually.
  • Improve productivity—a study found that a BYOD policy can help employees become more productive. People are often happier and more comfortable when they can use their own, familiar devices, instead of having to switch between personal and company devices.
  • Better security—a BYOD policy defines exactly how and when and what devices should be used for work. BYOD security guidelines should help employees understand their rights as well as their responsibilities. This information helps protect corporate assets from exposure to shadow IT threats.

However, informal BYOD practices can introduce significant risks, especially for organizations handling sensitive information.

If, for example, employees are not informed about proper BYOD guidelines, and are allowed to store and transfer sensitive information. Or if they download any 3rd party content that could be risky. In addition, if the IT team does not have complete visibility over these processes, then information could be leaked or compromised.

What Should a BYOD Policy Template Include?

A BYOD policy should be the result of a collaboration between all relevant departments, including HR, IT, and legal. Here are key aspects to consider when creating a BYOD policy template:

  • Authorized devices—define whether employees are allowed to use any available device or only certain devices.
  • Shared costs—employees working from home may consume more resources than they normally would for personal use. In this case, organizations might decide to offer a stipend to cover the costs.
  • Passwords—if the employee-owned device is used to handle important business information, organizations can define proper security requirements, such as multi-factor authentication and strong passwords.
  • Network security—organizations should define several network security aspects. For example, prohibiting the transmission of important information via public networks, clearly defining which networks are appropriate for BYOD use, and providing a virtual private network (VPN) as needed.
  • Data storage—a BYOD should clearly explain what types of corporate data they can store on their personal devices. Organizations should also prohibit data storage of any confidential or financial information on BYOD that are not encrypted.
  • Authorized use—a BYOD policy should clearly let employees know whether or not they are allowed to share the use of devices with friends or family.
  • Banned applications—employee-owned devices typically have a range of installed applications, some of which are not related to work purposes. Organizations might reserve the right to request the deletion of certain applications to prevent the malware infections.
  • Lost or stolen devices—a BYOD policy should inform employees as to proper conduct during security events, including the loss or theft of their device. For example, when the device is lost or stolen, the employee should immediately respond by remotely wiping out the data stored on the device.
  • Onboarding and offboarding employees—when employees leave the company, the organization might request to wipe out the device, or at the very least check it. Even though the device is personal, it was still used for work purposes and should be monitored during onboarding and offboarding, to prevent future issues.

Key Considerations for a Successful BYOD Policy

Make Compliance Clear

A BYOD policy should not contain languages or jargon the majority of employees are not familiar with. If this happens, employees might not be able to understand and comply. To prevent this, the organization should simplify the BYOD policy and clearly outline the responsibilities of employees and the efforts of the organization. To ensure employees know why they should comply, the organization should explain the importance of compliance.

Make Help Available

Policies should help support the efforts of the employees, providing clear guidelines, just like any regular FAQ document. Additionally, the organization should include information about the support available in cases of technical problems. Including this information in the BYOD policy can help provide quick references when employees experience technical issues.

Mandatory Security Policies

A BYOD should provide guidelines that help employees understand and implement proper security measures. For example, installing only trustworthy software and prohibiting the use of public WiFi networks. Organizations should also consider enforcing penalties for policy violations.

BYOD Policy with Hysolate

  • Hysolate offers a unique set of features that together, provide employees a positive day-to-day work experience while working from their own devices.
  • Smooth deployment, onboarding and maintenance: Hysolate offers instant one-click installation or silent provisioning, including automatic installation in the secured operating system of all company-approved applications and automatic provisioning of company policies.
  • Privacy and collaboration by design: with virtual workspaces that function like completely separate physical environments, employees enjoy their privacy, collaborate on tools of their choice, take their laptops home, promote ad-hoc team building through social media and more. They enjoy the feeling of freedom, trust and privacy that keeps them to stay on your team long-term. Easy-to-access ongoing support can be given, including remote access, without viewing the users’ private data.
  • Continuous and uninterrupted access to company assets: Hysolate provides a completely isolated corporate virtual machine as well as improved VPN security, and secured split tunneling. Employees can work continuously without having to suffer overloaded networks, sudden IP changes, disconnects and the like, no matter where they are.
  • Embedded granular security: Hysolate offers remote wipe and locking of corporate data, built-in data loss prevention, ongoing device health checks and granular policy management. Policies can determine when and how objects can be copied, cut and pasted between operating system workspaces, who has admin rights, what networks are permitted, whether USB devices are allowed and more. Hysolate can prevent keystroke recording, screenshots, and other malicious attack techniques. Security teams can ensure all company assets stay protected without disrupting the natural user workflow.
  • A safe and positive end-user experience:  The Hysolate guided tours make it quick and simple for users to onboard. From there, the sky’s the limit. With workspaces that act like multiple desktops, a thing common to most of us these days, users switch between desktops seamlessly. No more mind-boggling context switching and other unpleasant disruptions.

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