Avoid security breaches this summer. Tips for BYOD during the holidays

Posted: Jul 03, 2014
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Summer break is here, and with it the trepidation of data breaches as a result of the widespread adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). As professionals prepare to turn on their ‘out of office’, it’s crucial businesses take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against loss, theft, and hacking.

Expectations have changed as people move away from the traditional office space and embrace the flexibility of the ‘online office’ using mobile phones and tablets to do important work tasks. As a result, the line between work and personal life can become blurred – placing sensitive data at risk. Whilst many will have already established rigorous regulations for controlling the use of personal devices within the workplace, summer presents the perfect opportunity for reaffirming how mobile devices should be used.

Here are five tips for your BYOD workforce during the holidays:

1) Provide easy access to company policies
Ignorance isn’t bliss…especially when it could end up costing your business millions of dollars in fines. Make it your priority to ensure every team member is fully up to speed with company policy in relation to personal devices. Why not set reminders to revisit company policy every quarter or introduce regular BYOD workshops?

2) Give your team the right tools
Having access to mobile devices can be hugely beneficial for individuals and businesses with hundreds of apps boosting productivity across all industries. That being said, it is vital businesses positively promote the use of secure apps, especially within healthcare. Supply your workforce with a list of approved applications, such as HIPAA compliant apps, and where relevant a list of those specifically prohibited.

3) Teach safe browsing habits
Mistakes happen, but you can reduce the risk of hacking by teaching safe browsing habits. It can be harder to tell on a mobile device whether a connection is secure so encourage extra caution when accessing unknown sites via mobiles and tablets.

4) Promote communication with IT departments
The intricacies of online security can be difficult to understand. Take time to make sure any information around BYOD company policy, and the risk involved if not adhered to, is relatable and easy to understand. Provide clear routes of communication to in-house experts so when questions arise, either before, during or after holidays, they can be answered quickly and comprehensively.

5) Play out risky scenarios
It’s impossible to plan for every sequence of events, but role play can be an extremely successful method for demonstrating which scenarios may lead to a data breach. When it comes to summer holidays, educate your workforce on the importance of encrypted data, so when they’re travelling or enjoying some well-deserved downtime they’re aware of the risks.

Putting in place BYOD policies will require planning, effort, and resource expenditure – but when the possibility of a data breach and costly penalty is the alternative you’ll be glad you took the necessary precautions!