Threat Tuesday: Protect Your Data in the Age of BYOD

Blake CormierNews

We recently gave you some tips on cleaning your devices with alcohol and a microfiber cloth — but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies and cloud storage and collaboration platforms mean that bits of your company’s data could be scattered far and wide in the event that a device is lost or an employee leaves your company.

So what can you do to ensure that your data stays protected in the age of BYOD and cloud collaboration?

Classify your data

The word “classified” usually makes you think of ultra-secret government documents. But it really just means sorting — classifying — information based on how sensitive it is and how damaging it would be if it were to be disclosed. The government uses a four-tiered system: unclassified, confidential, secret, top-secret.

You can use a similar process when it comes to files and documents produced by your company. Some things, like product catalogs and marketing materials, are already publicly available. But other things, like employee or customer personal information, need to be locked down.

The same goes for things that are legally protected, like health care information. Strict controls should be put in place so that these documents stay internal to your organization.

Use the right tools

Setting policies in place is one thing, but being able to enforce them is another. This is where it pays to use secure collaboration tools, and to make sure that they’re configured properly.

Email is one of the least secure ways to share documents. Not only is email unencrypted, there is no way to know that the person on the receiving end is the person you intended to share the document with. A typo in an email address could easily trigger a data breach — no matter what the legal disclaimer in your email signature says.

Secure collaboration tools like Office 365 or Citrix ShareFile allow you to ensure that you’re only sharing documents with the intended recipient. And if that person no longer needs access to the document, access can easily be revoked.

Additionally, these tools come with mobile apps that give you some control over data on BYOD devices. They have controls that keep documents internal to the app, and allow you to remove that data if the device is lost or the employee leaves your company. This gives you a much greater degree of control over what happens to your data once it leaves your network.