Will 2015 be the Year IT Gets BYOD Right?

Posted on December 18, 2014

According to the Darkreading security blog, 2014 was a year when IT got BYOD wrong. In an article based on the results from a Bitdefender survey Darkreading said the numbers prove that we're doing BYOD wrong.

What was missing this year, according to a variety of information security experts, is the recognition that company employees are a kind of human firewall that is an essential part of protecting sensitive company data in a bring your own device environment. And the key to improving the human firewall, most experts agree, is training and awareness.

Jared Hansen, CEO of secure mobile printing leader Breezy agrees. "Employees just want to get their jobs done. They don't want to put company data at risk any more than they want to become the victim of identity theft themselves. But, unfortunately, many companies don't make it easy for employees to protect company data on their mobile devices' and even fewer offer the ongoing training and security education that helps keep people motivated and aware of the risks."

One company that works hard to keep employees motivated and security conscious is AT&T. The telecom giant uses splash screens, online training, and rewards programs to remind employees about mobile security every time they log onto the company's VLAN or a company Wi-Fi access point. The splash screens, which change weekly, offer security reminders and updates, and employees who participate in on-demand online training, change their passwords regularly, and keep their mobile device security up to date are eligible for rewards and prize drawings.

How to Strengthen Your Human Firewall for 2015

Hansen says that the first step in making 2015 the year that you get BYOD right is to make sure you have the technology in place to protect your infrastructure as much as possible. If you don't already have an enterprise mobility management tool like AirWatch ,Citrix, Good Technology, IBM MaaS360, MobileIron or others then that's where your 2015 mobile security planning has to start, he says. "Breezy's secure mobile printing tools are thoroughly integrated with the leading EMM solutions, because your employees are much more likely to comply with your security policies and practice safe mobile data handling if it's easy," he explains. "So a single sign on, with on-device encryption, is the way to make it far less likely that a simple mistake will lead to a data breach."

Once the technology is in place, it's time to educate employees about mobile security. One tactic that's proven highly effective for Breezy clients are "lunch and learn" sessions where employees are invited to learn about maintaining Internet security at home, and on mobile devices. "Including help for families on how to keep their kids safe online, how to avoid being the victim of identity theft, or how to avoid becoming a victim of smartphone theft will help to encourage employees to participate," he says.

If you don't have the IT bandwidth to set up the kind of splash screen reminders and on-demand training that AT&T uses, consider going old school, with posters, paycheck stuffers, and other attention-grabbing displays in the office that remind employees about how vulnerable smartphones and tablets are to data leakage or theft. "If all you do is remind employees about policies and threaten then, no one will pay attention. But if you give them information that they can really use about topics they are interested in " like protecting themselves and their families " they'll pay attention," Hansen says.

"It isn't possible to overestimate the importance of motivated, knowledgeable employees when it comes to protecting company data," the Breezy founder adds. "Whatever you spend to train, remind, motivate, and reward employees who are actively helping you protect your data is going to be much less expensive than the cost of a data breach."

For more information on mobile device security and secure mobile printing, watch this video from Breezy, download The Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing, a free ebook, or click here to schedule a Breezy demo now.

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