Aug 29 2023

Keep Your Business Secure with an Effective BYOD Policy

Employees want to use their own devices for work, and it benefits organizations— as long as solid security policies are enforced.

The rise of BYOD policies has allowed businesses to leverage the comfort and familiarity that their employees have with their personal devices to help increase productivity. 

However, this also presents many challenges, especially regarding data security. Any device that’s added to your network presents a new potential vulnerability, as well as a new platform from which cybercriminals can launch an attack. To help your company adapt, let’s consider some best practices for establishing an effective BYOD policy.

Which Types of Devices Should Your BYOD Policy Allow?

The first step in establishing a robust BYOD policy is to define which types of devices are permissible for your employees to use at work. However, this decision is more complicated than you may think; it goes beyond categorizing devices as smartphones, tablets or laptops. 

For instance, you must consider the devices’ manufacturers, models and operating systems to ensure they’re compatible with your organization’s existing infrastructure and software applications.

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Remember, every device added to your network increases complexity, so standardizing the types of devices you allow can significantly simplify management on your end. One idea is to limit the scope to certain manufacturers or operating systems known for their security features or compatibility with the company’s existing infrastructure.

The age and update status of your employees’ devices are also critical aspects to consider, as obsolete devices can present potential security vulnerabilities. Your BYOD policy must mandate that all devices used for work be kept up to date with the latest software and security patches.

Apply Strict Security Policies on BYOD Devices

Implementing a secure BYOD policy will require you to put into place stringent security measures. Because every device that connects to your network represents a potential security risk, it’s essential to enforce strict security requirements for each device under your BYOD policy.

The use of strong, unique passwords should be a fundamental requirement. You also should require multifactor authentication to add an extra layer of security. Devices should be encrypted to protect their stored data, and a secure, encrypted connection, such as a virtual private network, should be used for any sensitive data transfers.

All of the above is basic data security hygiene, but employees aren’t necessarily accustomed to having such rules applied to their own personal devices. They may bristle, but if they wish to connect those devices to your network, you can’t waver.

Make sure your employees know that anti-virus software and firewalls must be kept up to date and undergo weekly scans. Your policy should explicitly state that employees are responsible for maintaining the security of these devices.

Your policy must also include protocols in case your employees lose their devices. This should ideally include the ability to remotely wipe devices to prevent unauthorized access to company data. 

Additionally, you should consider compliance requirements, especially if your business operates in heavily regulated industries such as healthcare or finance. For example, consider laws like the Digital Operational Resilience Act, a binding data security and risk management framework for the financial sector. Technically, DORA applies to the European Union, but most financial services companies are global and will have to follow its mandates.


The percentage of employees who use a personal cellphone for work

Source:, “26 Surprising BYOD Statistics: BYOD Trends in The Workplace,” Oct. 17, 2022

Use an Effective MDM Solution for BYOD Devices

Choosing and implementing an effective mobile device management solution forms the cornerstone of a secure and manageable BYOD program. It allows IT administrators in your business to manage and secure employees’ personal devices that are used for work.

Your MDM solution should allow IT administrators to ensure that devices comply with your organization’s policies and, if necessary, to remotely wipe or lock connected devices. It should also enable your administrators to remotely manage device settings, policies and security requirements. 

In essence, implementing an MDM solution involves configuring it according to your organization’s policies and deploying your IT staff to keep an eye on employee devices at work.

LEARN MORE: Find out why mobile device management can improve business security.

Ensure Employees Are Well-Trained in Security

Ensuring the success of a BYOD program requires a comprehensive security training program for your employees. Training should begin with an orientation on the company’s BYOD policy, spelling out the types of permitted devices, the required security protocols and the consequences of noncompliance.

This foundational knowledge sets clear expectations and emphasizes the importance of adherence to your policy.

The training also should review current best practices for data security, educating employees about potential threats such as phishing, malware and using unsecured public networks. Teach your employees how to respond to these threats and emphasize avoiding suspicious links and using virtual private networks when connecting to company networks from public Wi-Fi. 

Your training program should also provide a thorough explanation of your company’s chosen MDM solution. Employees should learn how to install and update the solution, understand its monitoring capabilities, and know how to use features such as remote locking or wiping of their devices.

Guidance on seeking technical assistance should also be provided, outlining the correct points of contact within the IT department. Most important, training should not be a one-time event but an ongoing process.

As technological threats evolve and new tools are introduced, training programs should be updated regularly, with refresher courses conducted to reinforce knowledge and introduce new information. 

EXPLORE: Learn the best practices for deploying zero trust in your mobile environment.

Why Every Business Needs an Effective BYOD Policy

As companies continue to evolve in the face of constantly shifting cyberthreats, adopting a well-crafted BYOD policy can be an important and strategic operational decision. 

There are several notable benefits to implementing a well-defined BYOD policy. It gives employees the flexibility to use their own devices, potentially leading to increased productivity overall. It also can result in notable cost savings for the organization, reducing the need to purchase and maintain a fleet of company-owned devices.

However, a poorly executed BYOD policy can result in significant security vulnerabilities and potential data breaches. The steps outlined here are all critical for long-term success.

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