BYOD Policies for the Enterprise – Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Although BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a landscape that is constantly in flux, developing a policy for BYOD security is a critical first step in stabilizing this environment.  Businesses and institutions need to understand that there are many things that they can do to create a strong security policy. This can be accomplished by realizing that there are a number of fundamental policy concepts that can provide a framework that will accommodate the changing landscape.

Since employees desire to use all manner of mobile devices in the workplace, security is the primary concern. Consequently, the policy must work hand in hand with the security measures that are enacted by the IT department. Although the goal is to clearly define those devices that can be used and how they can be used in the workplace, IT departments must work in partnership with other major departments and C-suite level players to make these determinations.

Not only should the BYOD policy clearly define accepted devices as well as the resulting security policy for each, they must also describe the security software requirements as one of the security that would be in place. Its best to choose a software solution that can allow remote monitoring, blocking and filtering of the activities on a wide variety of devices as well as respond to Apps, private clouds, Wi-Fi networks and remote desktop services.

There are a number of resources available that provide guidance on developing a BYOD policy that balances security with the mobility/productivity/creativity promise of BYOD. Dark Reading recently ran an informative article with accompanying report on the ten things to consider when developing an enterprise BYOD security policy. The article by the IT security news and information platform discusses some of the challenges of developing a BYOD policy where ambiguity exists. This can range from who owns the device to usage parameters to employee exit strategies.

Some companies have offered policies that let employees opt to have the company install monitoring software on their personal mobile devices. Other companies have opted for company-owned personally-enabled devices, or COPE. CIO magazine recently ran an article that discussed the pros and cons of such an approach for employers and employees. Enterprise mobile device security often encompasses both remote desktop services that impact a company’s employees as well as Wi-Fi hotspots, which are generally a concern for businesses and their customers or patrons. The issues surrounding all of these potential network incursion points are potentially equally problematic.

For the former, a whole host of issues including network access protocols, policies, and security measures often go beyond the capabilities of the remote desktop services platform. Conversely, hotels, café’s and educational institutions that provide Wi-Fi hotspots for customers and students bring their own set of security issues.

Pearl Software’s Echo.Cloud.Filter provides businesses and institutions that utilize Wi-Fi hotspots with expansive filtering and control functionality. This can extend across users who bring their own devices to the network while ensuring that there is no need for any endpoint-level installation.

In addition, the same software solution suite can offer filtering, monitoring and blocking configurability with easy and complete integration to Remote Desktop Services (RDS) servers for those same businesses. This includes web browsing, file transfers, IM, chat, email and instant messaging as well as a host of other features to protect data security.

In an age where BYOD is increasingly becoming the way that businesses and employees work, it is imperative to develop the policies, protocols, and infrastructure that safeguard network data. What is equally imperative is that these solutions also safeguard the higher level of creativity, productivity and mobility of mobile device users so as to deliver on the promises of BYOD to employees, customers, and businesses.

Posted in Cyber Security.