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Whether we like it or not, remote working is here to stay. During the last few months, many organizations struggled to get up and running. Still, those who had policies and technology focused on mobility and flexibility experienced a smoother transition to a remote environment. Companies like Twitter even decided to make working from home a permanent option for employees. Unfortunately, not every organization prioritized this model. For many, there were more questions than answers. Where do we begin? How long will it take to get 200 employees up and running? Are we still protected?

Making things more complicated, most employees will be using personal devices for business activities, otherwise known as BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. This concept can cause fear for the organization and its employees. Both are wondering what vulnerabilities exist for their data and property. The foundation for addressing these concerns is policy. Merely writing a policy isn’t enough. Policies need to be actively communicated, not just in a pdf on the company intranet. Once everyone is on the same page about security and access, they can start enjoying the benefits of BYOD.

Establish Policies that Maintain Balance

You should know the risks of having employees use home devices, but don’t let it stop forward progress. According to Dell, 45% of workers believe that using a personal device for work activities would increase their productivity. Since users are already familiar with the technology on their personal devices, there is a low learning curve, which increases efficiency. In some cases, BYOD can reduce costs. Your policies should address the following to minimize the risk of BYOD:

  • Updating Technology & Software | We don’t like to admit it, but many of us are guilty of not updating our personal devices. Sometimes we have gigabytes of photos of our kids, pets, and food and so we just don’t run that update. Running legacy platforms puts users more at risk for cyber-attacks. It’s essential only to allow access to users whose technology and software meet the minimum criteria. Still, running the previous operating system? No access.
  • Endpoint Detection and Response Platforms | A home device becomes a new endpoint for attackers to target. An EDR allows IT teams to monitor what is happening on the network and at the endpoint, a personal device. The IT team gets notified if there is any suspicious activity, which allows them to investigate a potential threat proactively.
  • MDM Solutions | Mobile Device Management solutions allow organizations to have control over personal devices. IT teams can monitor and secure sensitive information, run software updates, administer compliance, and even locate a lost device. MDM solutions can create anxiety for employees because IT will have the ability to wipe their personal devices. Being upfront and explaining how employee data is being monitored and protected will reduce anxiety.
  • Employee Termination | When an employee leaves, they should no longer have access to company resources. Be clear about when access will stop and what data they need to delete. If you have an MDM solution in place, let employees know what they can expect and when.

Despite taking the appropriate precautions, there is no guarantee that you won’t become a victim of a successful cyber-attack. All organizations should consider cyber liability insurance. Dedicated cybersecurity insurance can reduce some of the costs associated with a breach. Make sure the level of coverage you choose works for your organization.

Communication and Training is Key

Policies are only useful if people understand them. Have multiple opportunities for training like during onboarding and every few months. Leave room for questions so that you can address concerns, and verify that the information presented was understood.
Communicate clearly and often. Technology changes constantly, so you should make employees aware of any changes to processes, upcoming software updates, or potential risks. Awareness will empower them to work with you for a more secure and efficient remote work environment.

Using Technology to Implement Policy

Once your policies are in place, you will need the right technology to implement them. Working with an IT partner like a managed services provider can decrease some of the stress associated with BYOD and remote work. MSPs offer managed or co-managed IT solutions that ensure your employees’ personal devices are secure and up to date. They can advise you on solutions like:

  • Cybersecurity | Working from home and BYOD bring additional vulnerabilities to your business assets. Having cybersecurity solutions in place is imperative. These solutions allow your IT team to monitor activity on your network and at endpoints. Empowered with information, they can respond to potential threats before they turn into a breach.
  • Cloud Management | Cloud-based solutions provide mobility and flexibility for businesses. Companies can access their data, files, and applications from anywhere and, in some cases, on any device. The cloud offers scalability so it can continuously meet business needs as you grow.
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery | Having backups is not only smart but also a requirement from most regulating agencies. BDR solutions ensure business continuity and resiliency through retention and replication.

Need help getting started? At Coretelligent, we have years of experience with highly regulated organizations in financial services, life sciences, among others. Our focus is on providing you with a strategic IT roadmap and industry-leading IT solutions that keep your business mobile, flexible, secure, and in compliance. Contact our team at 855-841-5888 or via email to info@coretelligent.com to learn more about how our IT solutions can protect your business and employees as you adjust to BYOD and working from home.

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