According to recent articles (Bloomberg, TechCrunch), cybersecurity concerns over too many devices connected to the White House campus wireless network have led to consideration of a possible ban on the use of personal mobile phones. This news should serve as an alarm to remind enterprises leaders responsible for mobile security that their wireless network is at risk.
The White House already takes some precautions with personal wireless devices, requiring staffers to leave phones in cubbies outside of meeting rooms where sensitive or classified information is discussed.
Many enterprise employees’ mobile devices are targets for hackers. Personal phones aren’t as secure as those issued by employers.
In October, Politico reported that White House officials believed Chief of Staff John Kelly’s personal mobile phone had been compromised. Officials were also instructed not to use their personal or regular work mobile phones during Trump’s trip to China in November. Instead, they were assigned “burner” phones in case they became compromised by a cyber attack.
Mobile phone security is an important issue for all organizations. Security and compliance considerations require employers to protect corporate data on employee-owned devices.
BYOD mobile security considerations
Clear user policies are a good first step in getting employees to pay attention to the dangers that come from hackers that target mobile devices.
A second step is requiring employees to sign mobile policy for BYOD devices. The policy should require security measures with timely reporting for lost devices, remote wiping of lost devices and surrender of all data on the employees’ device for legal cases.
A third policy element should include protections to release employers from the consequences of losing employee data if a device (personal or corporate) must be wiped for security reasons.
Companies cannot ignore the threats from mobile devices. It may not be possible to control all employee actions, but managers need to put some control measures in place. BYOD with no restrictions will open the door to legal exposure.
Considering government security requirements, concerns regarding intellectual property, data breaches, hidden costs, employee privacy and few benefits – it is not surprising to see that BYOD appears to have peaked. A better approach is to acknowledge these risks and develop sound policies and practices. Consider help in this area from mobility management experts.