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BYOD management in the workplace: Do you need it?

Heather Gray

Aug 6, 2020

12 min read

BYOD is a growing trend in the business world where employees bring their own devices to work. It encompasses similar other initiatives such as Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) and Bring Your Own PC (BYPOC). As part of IT consumerization, BYOD has been known to benefit both employees and the organization by boosting productivity and reducing operational costs. In order to get a clear picture on BYOD is and what it entails to the organization that implements it, it’s best to weigh its benefits and risks.  

Pros:  

  • It is cost effective  
  • Employees are happier when working with a device of their own choosing rather than using the one provided by the company  
  • Reduces the learning curve on device operation leading to increased productivity  
  • Allow employees to work remotely   

Cons:

  • With employees using different types of device the lack of uniformity can make the workload of IT admins a lot harder  
  • The lack of a proper security environment within the organization can lead employees to fall victim to various cybersecurity threats 
  • Without proper monitoring, the privacy of the employees and the security of the organization could get compromised  
  • The use of wide range of devices can lead to software incompatibility issues  

Why device management is needed in BYOD 

Given the risks that we have just listed out, it’s important to see why device management can help organizations secure their BYOD deployments, here’s what it offers to ensure ample protection within the workplace:   

  • It provides an enhanced level of security by enforcing necessary settings and configurations on the personal device of the employees  
  • The remote wipe capability can help mitigate risks associated with lost or stolen devices  
  • It can neatly segregate corporate data from the personal data of the user and alleviate any concerns regarding the unauthorized usage of corporate data   
  • Provides a centralized platform to manage devices from different platforms  

A power driven UEM solution like Hexnode not only safeguards your enterprise network but it also provides employees with a more secured access to the company’s resources. Harboring a multi-platform structure, essential configurations and security restrictions can be easily applied on various Android, Apple and Windows devices. These configurations can be set on the work containers present within the personal devices of the employees thus giving them both privacy and ensuring the corporate data stays protected from unauthorized usage.  

By integrating an identity provider like Azure AD and G Suite your organization can easily enroll the device of their users by authenticating them with their identity credentials. This saves employees from the unnecessary trouble of creating new email addresses or verify themselves by the means of one-time passwords. Other benefits of device management in BYOD includes the ease with which policies can be assigned to a single device, groups of devices and user groups. Here’s how your organization can prevent all risks associated with BYOD by implementing the right device management approach within the workplace.     

Prevent the mixing of work and personal data with containerization

Though BYOD is being readily accepted in many enterprises, some employees still hesitate to bring their personal devices to work as they fear that it might impact their privacy. The corporate and personal data of the user can be kept separate from each with containerization. The work container will only contain the necessary work applications and other enterprise related data. Neat management of BYOD can be easily achieved on devices enrolled via the Android Enterprise program. Apart from the creation of a work container on the user end devices, the program also provides plenty of security features for enterprises to enhance the protection of the personal device of its users. Some of the advantages of containerization includes:  

  • The setting up of a separate password on the work container to ensure additional security on the enterprise data present inside  
  • The encrypted container restricts the access of work-related data outside of its container 
  • Companies can limit the flow of data between work and personal applications and ensure data leak protection by restricting users from copying or pasting contents between the separate workspaces  
  • Initiate corporate wipe on the container-based devices. When an employee leaves the company only the work-related data will get erased. It comes with the double benefit of protecting both the company and leaving the personal data of the user untouched   

You can step up the protection of corporate data even further by deactivating the work container on non-compliant Android devices. Unlike Android Enterprise where the device provisioned as profile owner will have a work container created on it by default, containerization on iOS devices can be achieved via a mobile device management solution. The iOS Business Container can easily keep the business resources secure by creating a separate container for the managed work apps, you can limit the flow of data between the work and personal space of the user by setting up restrictions such as: 

  • Preventing documents from managed apps to be opened in unmanaged applications 
  • Disable managed apps from writing to unmanaged contact accounts  
  • Block the sharing of managed documents using AirDrop 

With managed domains, you can ensure that users only have access to documents coming from enterprise domains. You can list email domains, web domains and specify the domains for which Safari’s Password Autofill can be enabled. The unmanaged domains will be highlighted thus cautioning employees from opening documents or any other resources from them.   

Ensure better App and Data Management  

Manage apps present within the devices of employees
Manage apps present within the devices of employees

Any apps that the business deems to be necessary can be pushed onto the device of the employees via the mandatory apps policy. Admins will be notified immediately if the apps are missing as the devices lacking them will be marked as non-compliant. You can bring up the productivity of employees by whitelisting a set of applications, this can be done on app groups as well, wherein all the apps within the group will be whitelisted.

Enterprises with multiple departments can easily deploy the right applications to its designated users by creating app catalogs. These catalogs are sort of like a custom app store where the apps needed by the user can be installed and stored. Admins can push both individual apps and app groups to the app catalogs.

BYOD management also extends to the proper monitoring of network usage. You wouldn’t want employees to access apps that hogs up a lot of data, if this goes unchecked your company might end up with increased network operational costs. By setting up a proper network data usage management in place, you can have a clear picture on how the network is being used within the business. Daily and monthly limits can be set to restrict users from over usage. Similarly, restrictions on app wise usage can be set as well to identify apps that takes up a good deal of data. The apps can be configured to control the amount data they use.

You can ensure proper app management in the personal device of your employees with these additional capabilities: 

Easily track the location of the device

The ability to easily track the location of lost devices is perhaps one of the advantages that device management bring to enterprises implementing BYOD. Admins can have access to the complete history of the locations traversed by the device from the portal. The location can be viewed either on a map or tracked from the coordinates mentioned within the location history reports. You can export the report in a PDF or CSV file format and schedule the time to send the reports at regular intervals to the right recipients within the organization. The device can be scanned to get instant updates of its current location this too can be scheduled if the admin wishes to fetch the location of the devices at periodic intervals. 

Monitor the devices efficiently with reports

Reports can be incredibly helpful to get a detailed insight of the devices within the organization. Admins can get a complete overview of total number of users and devices, check whether the devices meet the company’s compliance requirement and get a list of the location history of the enrolled devices. Regular checks on the installed applications and their data usage can be monitored with the help of these reports. You can go for a more organized approach by scheduling the reports. In this way the recipients who receives the reports will be notified at a particular time rather than receiving it at any random time throughout the day. The reports can be scheduled on a monthly or weekly basis.    

Push all necessary files needed by the user

Deploy essential resources to user end devices
Deploy essential resources to user end devices

One of the most common challenges that many enterprises face while implementing BYOD is the secure transfer of files to their employees. With users utilizing different devices with different software configurations it can be a daunting task for any IT admin to see that the users are supplied with the necessary resources on time. By managing the devices of your employees via UEM, no matter what device they bring, admins can easily push files of any type from the portal to the user end devices within minutes. Just specify the location path and file name, the resources will be deployed right away. 
 
You can use the broadcast messaging feature to keep employees updated on the latest announcements and send instructions to troubleshoot any issues they may encounter. As the work container present within the user’s device is encrypted, all contents present within it will be completely protected. You can limit users from sharing sensitive data over the air by setting up appropriate restrictions on Bluetooth, USB file transfer and AirDrop.   

Initiate remote wipe to erase data present within the lost device  

Tracking the lost devices of employees is never an easy task, however by implementing the right device management solution admins can remotely track and lock the stolen or misplaced devices of the employees within minutes. Once remote lock is initiated the device remains unusable as it will be securely locked with the password set by the employee. You can wipe the data as an extra security measure. In case of a stolen device it would be best to go for a complete wipe or if the user just wishes to have the corporate data erased you can selectively wipe the device by choosing a corporate data wipe. Automatic lock can be enabled on the device if it is found to be inactive for a specified period of time. With the exception of Mac, once the remote lock is initiated the screen would get locked and users will be required to enter a password to have access to it once again. In Mac, the device would restart and prompt the user to enter the password to log in.  

You can enable factory reset protection on the lost Android devices to prevent unauthorized access. Security on the devices can be stepped up even further by encrypting it. Encryption protects the contents of your device by converting it into an unreadable and scrambled code. By encrypting the device, all the data present within it can only be accessed by authorized users. Remote management is perhaps another crucial aspect of BYOD, UEM solutions provide admins with the flexibility to manage devices from various platform from a centralized location, from here various remote actions right from app and device management to pushing files securely and safeguarding lost devices can be done easily  

Manage the personal devices of employees with these remote actions:  

  • Scan lost devices and lock it when located  
  • Wipe the data within stolen devices to ensure its security  
  • Broadcast messages to users  
  • Enable or disable personal hotspot  

Make the device of your employees more secure

Admins can ensure protection on the devices by having proper BYOD management strategies in place
Admins can ensure protection on the devices by having proper BYOD management strategies in place
 

Configure the Wi-Fi and VPN settings over the air to ensure that the devices are connected to a secure network. The device can be automatically connected to the Wi-Fi network as soon as it enters its service area. VPN is a great tool to protect the privacy and increase the security of employees working remotely. All the data they send will be a through a secure and encrypted tunnel, any information passed between the employee and the company cannot be read by anybody else since it contains elements to secure both the private network of the business and the external network through which the user is connected to.  

By having a proper device management strategy in place, you can easily configure VPN profiles on the devices. When employees bring their personal devices to work it can be an easy target for hackers, with web content filtering admins can easily blacklist websites that look suspicious or has a history of such attacks and restrict user access to these sites. Other security measures you can implement includes:  

  • The setting up of a Global HTTP proxy to make sure that all the HTTP network traffic passes through it.  
  • Enable Firewall to carefully monitor the incoming and outgoing network traffic     

Bottomline

When adapting the best practices for BYOD organizations should take into consideration the proper management of the personal device of employees. With device management solutions like MDM and UEM IT admins can ensure that adequate policies are in place to restrict users from accessing sensitive data from unauthorized devices. All enterprise approved applications and files needed by the user can be pushed onto the device and when an employee leaves the organization the device can be easily deprovisioned by wiping the corporate data leaving the personal data of the user intact.     

Give Hexnode’s BYOD management capabilities a try and the enjoy the benefits of increased employee productivity and data security at a reduced cost.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Heather Gray

Technical Blogger @ Hexnode. Reading and writing helps me to stay sane.

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