BYOD management in the workplace: Do you need it?
Learn how to effectively manage BYO devices in the workplace to ensure the protection of valuable corporate data.
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Sep 14, 2023
10 min read
BYOD, a term now quite popular, particularly in the tech sphere, signifies “Bring Your Own Device.” Its prominence surged in the wake of the pandemic, as people struggled to access corporate devices. Essentially, BYOD allows the utilization of personal devices for work.
While the concept of BYOD made perfect sense in the context of fully remote work, its relevance persists. Presently, individuals find it more convenient to work on their own devices, granting them the flexibility to work from virtually any location. However, this approach does come with drawbacks, security risks being amongst the top ones.
GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is a globally applicable data privacy and security law, that was introduced in 2018. The law was formed and passed in the European Union, but applies to any organization in the world, that accesses or uses data related to the people from the EU.
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GDPR makes it mandatory for organizations to provide visibility as to how data is being handled and used. In this way, people know exactly where their data is being used and what it is used for. Oh, I forgot to mention, that organizations handling data from the EU would have to pay hefty fines if they are found violating the GDPR. If you want to know more about GDPR, click here.
As I mentioned earlier, GDPR is a data privacy and security law that ensures that people are aware of who has access to their data and what it is being used for at all times. This can be done only if organizations stick to GDPR guidelines.
Implementing a robust BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy is crucial as it poses challenges for organizations striving to maintain GDPR compliance. This challenge primarily arises from the inability to continuously monitor personal devices, a feature that is easily accessible for enterprise-owned devices. Therefore, having a well-defined BYOD policy becomes paramount.
Without a proper BYOD policy in place, companies might find it difficult to have a proper idea of what devices are accessing company data.
Additionally, without a proper BYOD policy in place, companies might have a hard time figuring out the devices that are having access to company resources. Employees can access resources from any device (which includes not-so-secure devices).
Another side effect of not having a BYOD policy is that damage control becomes much more difficult in the case of a data breach. Since companies do not have an idea of what all endpoints have access to company resources, finding out the point of attack becomes nearly impossible.
While BYOD has been a lifeline for many organizations during the pandemic, it’s still viewed with mixed feelings. Let’s break down the pros and cons in a straightforward manner, shall we?
First off, it made life easier for folks to work on their own devices. Allowing employees to use their devices boosted morale and provided the freedom to work from wherever they felt comfortable.
The next good thing was that companies could cut short on costs to buy devices. With BYOD, companies could save a lot on the money spent to purchase corporate devices.
Now, when it comes to productivity, BYOD’s impact is a bit of a mixed bag. Some companies saw a performance boost, while others noticed a dip in employee output. It’s not entirely BYOD’s fault, but it did play a role.
Additionally, IT teams have encountered challenges in effectively overseeing access requests and permissions, primarily because of the sheer number of unmanaged devices. Consequently, all access requests had to be checked and verified before approval.
Plus, employees find it difficult to manage personal and work data side by side. And it’s not just a headache for employees – the IT crew feels it too.
Okay, let’s get down to the ugly side of BYOD. As we’ve mentioned before, cybersecurity is a big concern. Personal devices usually lack the top-notch security found in corporate ones.
Unsecured network connections are a major pitfall, as folks tend to connect to risky networks like public Wi-Fi or weakly protected ones. This makes them easy targets for cyberattacks.
Another major issue is the lack of control over personal devices. And due to this, keeping tabs on corporate data accessed through these devices becomes a real puzzle.
Companies are more vulnerable to data misuse and GDPR violations due to the issues listed above as well as the fact that sensitive data is being stored on these personal devices.
By now you know why having a proper BYOD or remote-work policy is necessary. But where do you start? What are the things you should consider most when coming up with a BYOD policy? How can I stay GDPR compliant with a BYOD policy? Here are some of the key elements you should include in your BYOD policy:
We’ve seen the havoc that unmonitored data saved on personal devices can cause. And so, companies should take steps to ensure that only a minimum amount of data is being stored in personal devices and whatever things that can be made cloud-based, do it. Maintaining data on safe cloud storage minimizes the amount of data stored on devices.
Organizations should inform and enforce employees to properly separate work data from personal data. This can be done using tools like UEM or MDM. Also, inform employees to secure everything with strong passwords.
Unauthorized and unmonitored data transfer is a huge no-no for BYOD policies. This creates scope for data breaches and data misuse. So, BYOD policies should have a proper set of rules for data transfer and data access from personal devices.
Another important thing to note is that employees should not be allowed to use public or unsecured networks to access or transfer company data. Also, have a proper Identity and Access Management strategy in place to prevent unauthorized access in your organization.
It is necessary to ensure that all endpoints having access to corporate data are secured properly. Passwords are the most basic layer of protection, but it is not enough. Devices having access to both personal and work data should have an internal separation of these two and the work data should be encrypted. This separation of work and personal data into different compartments is called containerization.
Containerization is possible using a UEM. Once separated, the work container won’t have any connection with the personal container, and this will ensure that the work container is safe even if the personal container is under attack. In the worst of cases, organizations can wipe just the work container from personal devices ensuring none of the personal data is lost.
This is going to be the most difficult part of a BYOD policy. Organizations must conduct regular audits to keep track of all data being accessed from personal devices. Organizations should also keep track of all the service requests made from personal devices. In this way, companies can provide more visibility to clients and other stakeholders as to where their data is being used and how it is being used.
Finally, organizations should conduct regular training sessions and classes to educate employees about the bad sides of BYOD. This helps employees understand the risks involved and be extra careful while working from their own devices.
With nearly all the information regarding BYOD policies and GDPR at your disposal, it’s time to explore implementing a GDPR-friendly BYOD policy using a UEM solution. Too many acronyms for a sentence, right? UEM might be the only one we haven’t mentioned till now.
UEM as most of you might know, stand for Unified Endpoint Management. UEMs are tools used by organizations to manage and monitor endpoints used by their employees. Yes, this includes personal devices as well. What better choice than Hexnode UEM to make your BYOD policies GDPR-friendly?
With Hexnode you can manage both personal and corporate devices well. However, the extent to which personal devices can be managed is a bit less compared to corporate devices. The process of managing the two types of devices is pretty much the same except for the initial provisioning part. Corporate devices are completely set up before being deployed to the employee, whereas personal devices have to be enrolled in the management console by the employee.
Once personal devices are enrolled in the management console, Hexnode can start managing the devices. Hexnode supports containerization for mobile devices like Androids and iPhones. The work container gets separated and encrypted automatically upon enrollment.
Another cool feature is you can set up compliance requirements like password strength, app requirements, and much more, and check if devices are compliant or not. No, you don’t have to do it manually, Hexnode does it automatically and notifies admins.
Hexnode allows you to generate comprehensive reports on user information, data utilization, device specifications, and many other aspects. Additionally, you can also perform real-time monitoring of personal devices to a certain extent.
Hexnode empowers you to efficiently manage applications within work containers. This capability allows you to both install and uninstall apps within work containers, tailor app settings and permissions, and establish personalized App Stores within these work containers.
Finally, you can restrict the transfer of data both in personal and corporate devices. In corporate devices, you can completely block the transfer of data using external storage devices. In the case of personal devices, you can restrict data being copied from the work container to the personal container and vice versa.
In a world where BYOD is the new norm, GDPR compliance can feel like a tricky puzzle. But fear not, because the solution lies in finding the right balance. While BYOD may seem like the villain, it can also be the hero with the right policies in place. GDPR, with its ups and downs, ultimately aims to protect our data. Despite its complexities, GDPR ultimately strives to safeguard our data, and that’s a cause we can all support.
Enter Hexnode, your trusty sidekick in this data protection adventure. With its user-centric approach, Hexnode helps you navigate the BYOD-GDPR maze, making compliance a breeze. So, embrace the challenges, harness the benefits, and stride confidently into a GDPR-compliant BYOD future!
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