Security Watch: Keeping up with the workforce

October 5th 2015

John Bergin recently spoke to journalist Kay Cairn on the topic of BYOD.  The subsequent article ‘Security Watch: Keeping up with the workforce' was published in the Sunday Business Post Connected Magazine on the 4th of October, and excerpts are included below.

Corporations are striving to be at the cutting edge to get the best employees. This means staying on top of the BYOD trend.

But to implement a BYOD policy, it is important to identify business objectives and benefits, as well as taking into account security, audit and data-protection requirements. Failure to implement proper software and management capabilities will create security risks.

The majority of issues are around data protection. If staff neglect to keep up with software updates, their devices could be left open to malwares or hijacking. If they lose or have their device stolen and it’s not encrypted or password protected, confidential company information could become public.

Today’s apps come with a whole host of protections that if not put in place mean a leaking of data from device cameras, microphones, contacts books and location services.

If company cloud storage isn’t put in place and enforced, employees may turn to less secure consumer storage providers, putting information at risk. And if you’re using wifi in a café to read this article you could be at risk of a data attack right now without knowing.

With so many avenues to company data exposure, it’s more important than ever to have secure policies in place.

Companies that don’t have the resources of a large enterprise take a different approach to data security.

John Bergin is the managing director of IT Force. He works mainly with small to medium enterprises with teams of ten to 75 employees.  Bergin said: ‘Within that group, we’ve come across very few if any BYOD policies in place. They haven’t grappled it in a formal way yet.’

IT Force often helps individual employees with BYOD, such as segregating their hard drives to manage both work and home data, or in setting up a new phone or computer. The company sets up encryption, lockdowns and advises organisations and employees on password security.

Said Bergin: ‘We advise companies to buy devices with Bitlocker or encryption built into the operating system at the start. And a lot of the time they would buy their devices from us because of the trusted relationship we have. We would set everything up so it’s ready to go.’

He finds a lot of the companies he works with have to be heavily coached into how to be security conscious.

‘A lot of them haven’t had any first-hand experiences of when things go wrong because of lack of security. They tend to do what we ask them to do. If we advise them to use encryption or other security measures, they’ll take that advice on board.’

Smaller companies often put their security in the hands of their IT executive, a one-man show, which leads to major security holes. IT Force has found servers hooked straight up to the internet with confidential company data on them.

‘That’s a real no-no. We do an ICT review, start to finish, to find any security concerns, and then correct any issues and get the company security compliant,’ said Bergin.

With all the issues around data protection, user training and policy making, it’s a wonder that so many companies are open to BYOD. Among them, IT Force is BYOD-positive. They are of the sentiment that if the correct technology and protections are put in place, the risks of BYOD can be effectively managed.

BYOD experts are convinced that if used properly, well-implemented BYOD practices can motivate the workforce and drive the business forward, reducing costs and improving morale.

End of article

IT Force has experience in implementing BYOD for clients in a number of different sectors.  We can take you through what is required for the successful implementation of BYOD in your business, such as a mobile device management solution and a BYOD policy document.

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