As employees return to the office, many businesses are considering implementing a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programme. There are many potential benefits of introducing a BYOD programme, including substantial cost savings, convenience for employees, and flexibility in work location. However, if such a programme is not well planned, it carries a significant security risk, as employees may be using an unsecured device on a secure network, putting the business at risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. In this article we will discuss the 8 steps to successfully implement a BYOD programme.
The first step involved with creating a BYOD programme is to define the objective or goal of the programme. This may be to decrease expenditure on hardware, creating a better experience for employees or increasing productivity. Defining this objective will shape many of the decisions made later in this process and give a clear metric to measure the success of the programme.
The process of implementing and deploying a BYOD programme can be difficult to manage without technical expertise. Many businesses do not have this expertise in-house and therefore choose to rely on the knowledge and experience of a third-party IT provider. This is often a safer option, as there are many security risks associated to a poorly implemented BYOD programme.
There are many technology solutions that can increase the success rate of a BYOD programme and decrease the risk of a cyberattack. Some of these may include the use of a VPN, enabling multifactor authentication, unified endpoint management software and/or the implementation of virtual desktops or cloud PCs. Azure Virtual Desktops and Windows 365 Cloud PCs are typically the most secure and comprehensive solution that can enable a BYOD programme. Both of these solutions can be deployed through Microsoft Azure and allow users to access Windows 10 and all necessary applications, from anywhere, on any device. As the security policies are set by the administrator, employees can safely use their own devices without putting the business at risk of a cyberattack.
After a business has decided on which technology solution/s suit their business and objectives, it is important to assess how this will affect their security posture. Implementing a BYOD programme should not weaken a business’s security posture, as any financial savings, increased productivity, or employee satisfaction is not worth putting a business at risk of a costly cyberattack. If after a security impact assessment there is a negative security impact, the business should consider a different technology solution to not compromise on security.
Before any technology is implemented, or employees start using their own devices, it is essential to establish policies and processes. The policies should include what is ‘acceptable use’ of personal devices within a work setting. This may include what apps employees are able to use, what websites are banned and what data employees can access. Businesses should also establish the process involved with applying to use a device within BYOD programme, and provisioning of any necessary technology or software.
After the policies and process are established, a business or their IT provider can implement the necessary technologies. This will likely include changing security policies for personal devices, enabling multifactor authentication or provisioning of virtual desktops or cloud PCs.
A BYOD programme will only be successful if the employees understand the processes and policies, including the reasoning behind why a business has made the decisions. Training and education should be delivered in an engaging manner, with opportunities for employees to ask questions where necessary. Employees should also have access to the education resources on-demand, so if there is anything they are uncertain of, they can refer to the training. The education should focus on protection not only the company, but also the employees’ personal information.
There are constantly new security threats facing businesses, and a BYOD programme will need to change to safeguard against these emerging threats. Similarly, businesses should collect feedback from employees that can be used to review BYOD policies and procedures to ensure that all objectives are accomplished, and employees are satisfied with the programme.
These steps form the basis of a successful BYOD programme. Such a programme has the potential to decrease overall expenditure on hardware, whilst increasing productivity and improving the employee experience. However, businesses must consider the risks involved with a BYOD programme and takes precautions to ensure they do not fall victim to a cyberattack.