Securing personal devices for work

Securing personal devices for work

While some employers issue company laptops and cell phones to their staff, many people use their personal phones and computers in some capacity to do their jobs. The popularity of full-time remote work is on the rise, flexibility is a priority, and many people work for themselves as freelancers or contractors, so in many cases it's simply easier for them to have one laptop and one phone for both personal and professional use.

While the lines between the concepts of “work” and “home” continue to blur, security remains a top concern for businesses, so how can you help your staff secure their personal devices for work?

Create reporting procedures for the theft or loss of a device

Did you know that a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds, and 70 million smartphones are lost every year? Ensure your staff know what to do if they lose one of their devices, or if it gets stolen. The sooner they report the loss or theft, the faster your IT team can deactivate it and wipe it, reducing the chance that sensitive data is exposed. Sometimes people don't report the loss of a company device right away because they hope it will turn up, but establishing clear procedures gives them clarity about what to do in this situation.

Provide anti-virus software

If your employees are using their own computer and phones for work, you want them to have the best anti-virus software on the market. Asking staff to pay for anti-virus software themselves reduces the chance they'll actually install it, so we recommend providing anti-virus software for everyone who uses their own devices for work.

Ask employees to switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity

When you're out walking around with your devices, you come into contact with dozens of unsecure Wi-Fi networks at any given time. If your phone or computer connects to a public Wi-Fi network then your data can be seen and accessed by anyone else who is also connected to that network. It's safest to keep both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity switched off, unless you're at home or at work and able to connect to trusted networks.

Create a company policy: only connect to trusted networks

This is especially important if you and your staff travel frequently for work. Connecting to unsecured networks in airports and cafes can give hackers easy access to your company data, so ensure you and your employees are only connecting to trusted networks. If you're on the road a lot you can create a secure hotspot and connect to your company's VPN, ensuring you stay protected while away from the office. Make sure your staff who use their personal devices know how to create a secure hotspot in order to access your company's network.

Use SSL certification

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that verifies a website's authenticity and enables an encrypted connection. If you have company information anywhere on your phone, even if it's only a few emails, any website you visit can put you at risk. An SSL certificate verifies each website you visit is secure.

Use encrypted apps where possible

Certain apps like Signal and Whatsapp are encrypted, and your company may have its own encryption software that you can encourage staff to install and use. This is particularly important for employees who often work from multiple locations because they're at greater risk of coming into contact with an unsecured network, perhaps via a public Wi-Fi connection.

Create a culture of honesty and openness

Perhaps the most important security practice you can have is creating a culture of honesty and openness. People are bound to make mistakes, and whether it's leaving their phone in a cafe or accidentally posting something inappropriate to their public social media account, it's important to acknowledge that these things will happen and ensure your employees feel comfortable to come to you and explain what happened.

Keep yourself updated on the latest in tech security

The world of tech security changes faster than we can keep up with it, and since the internet is an essential part of almost all of our jobs, it's worth being aware of the latest developments in the industry. You can have regular catch-ups with a tech expert who you trust, or you can subscribe to the many online resources available to understand how to best keep your personal devices secure both at home and while at work.

If you'd like more information about securing personal devices for work, or if you have any questions, please contact our team at Atimi today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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