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BYOD Data Protection in 2013: What's Your Plan?

In the mobile age, having a data protection plan has become essential. How will your organization protect sensitive data and avoid security breaches in the new year?

BYOD Data Protection in 2013: What's Your Plan?

by Pragati Chaplot Jain | December 12, 2012

How do you value the privacy and security of your sensitive data? A recently released Kaspersky Lab study cites sensitive data protection (27 percent) and security breaches (31 percent) as the biggest bring your own device (BYOD) threats businesses face today. The survey also highlights that only 9% of organizations consider a strict ban on employee devices on corporate floors a viable solution. Although BYOD has fueled a few of these issues, the majority of organizations believe holding back on the BYOD wave is futile.

If you are an IT administrator, how do you plan to protect sensitive data and security breaches? Do you have any data back up plans for employees with cracked screens or damaged hardware?

Before BYOD, bolster your own data plan

In the mobile age, both protecting our mobile device data and having a data protection plan has become essential. While users can opt for USBs, CDs and cloud based services to back up their personal data, IT admins must look for different BYOD data protection and back up strategies for their BYOD devices accessing corporate resources. After all, BYOD must not translate to bring your own disaster or back up your own data.

While keeping jail broken or rooted devices are imperative for mitigating any data leakages, what are the other elements of your BYOD data protection strategy? Here is my list of five must-haves in your 2013 data protection strategy:

  1. Enforcing password and screen lock on all BYOD devices. As per an Intomobile infographic, 59% of employees polled from one organization admit to diverging from recommended smartphone and tablet security best practices. IT must deploy mobile policies for protecting mobile devices with strong and complex passwords and enforce screen and key lock when the device is not in use.
  2. Defining mobile device backup and restore policies for corporate owned and employee owned devices. This infographic from Mashable reveals only 10% of mobile owners back up their digital data daily. Device data on corporate owned mobile devices must be automatically backed up while mobile device policies must be configured on the employee owned mobile devices to ensure that the device data is periodically synced with desktop or backend server. In the event that the BYOD employee is using removable media (such as an SD card), he must back up the data on the card also.
  3. Enforcing data encryption on mobile devices and back up data accessories. Corporate data or intellectual data residing on BYOD devices must be encrypted at all times. IT must discourage their employees from using portable media for storing sensitive data. If employees insist, all intellectual data must be encrypted on back up data accessories also.
  4. Accessing corporate data over secured network routes. When not working within corporate perimeters, BYOD employees must access corporate resources over secured networks and private wireless networks. Employee-owned devices must access corporate resources only over a secured tunnel.

    Cloud based solutions are gaining popularity for their easy and ubiquitous access but can be a dangerous route if data is not encrypted or stored in a protected form.  For safeguarding your intellectual property, IT must regulate what kind of docs can be uploaded in the cloud. To have a tighter grip on the mobile ecosystem, IT must restrict cloud based storage to certain user groups only.
  5. Enforcing strict policies in BYOD agreement. IT must highlight in the BYOD agreement that if any device is accessing corporate resources, employees are obligated to back up their device.  Strict action must be taken against device owners who are tampering with the mobile agent or interfere/refrain from the data backup process.

Engage employees and their devices

Your data protection strategy means little if your BYOD workers don’t adhere to the plan. Thus, employee education is essential for the successful implementation of your data protection plan. A successful BYOD program only comes to fruition when its participants abide by the rules and don’t look for a reason to bypass them.

In the long run, mobile device management (MDM) solutions like MaaS360 allow IT administrators to protect corporate data holistically by supporting full device encryption, strong passwords, auto lock and remote wipe. A good MDM solution delivers not only device management but also evaluates and tames your BYOD device and corporate network security risks.

Whats your plan for squashing mobile data risks in 2013? Share with us your plans and strategies in the comments section below.

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