The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement has in some ways saved companies money, but in other ways put customer data at risk. Employees are onsite, telecommuting or traveling on business. This means their devices, and company data could be anywhere at any given moment.
A company manager or owner realizes that company use of employee mobile devices brings benefits. But employees also use the devices for personal activities, increasing the risk of hackers getting into company data.
The solution is to train these employees in BYOD, information security and awareness. They must be aware of how risky a data breach is, how to secure data, especially if the device is loaded with company data. An overlooked part of that training is knowing how to deal with old data, back up that data and in some cases, delete it.
Data lives in 3 forms: stored on a local device, backed up in the cloud and deleted. Over time, old data begins to accumulate on devices and that can cause problems.
Here are some key considerations and best practices for dealing with the BYOD phenomenon at your business:
- Ask yourself when old data no longer needed? Data should have expiration dates set up to indicate this.
- Businesses should realize that “useless” or “old” data may surprisingly be needed sooner or later. This data can be stored offsite, in the cloud, so that if the device is hacked, at least the old data (which may contain valuable information to the hacker) won’t be accessible.
- Setting up cloud storage that automatically backs up data will ensure that if a device is lost or stolen, the data is still available. Every bit of data, even if it’s seemingly useless, should be backed up.
- How do you truly delete data? Don’t think for a second you’ll achieve this by hitting the delete button. In many cases, a hacker could still find it and obtain it from the hard drive. What you can’t see is not invisible to a skilled hacker.
- Want to just get rid of old data altogether? You must destroy the hard drive. This means put it on the ground and hit with a sledgehammer. Then recycle the guts. Or you can professionally shred it.
- Deploy Mobile Device Management (MDM) software that gives companies the ability to remotely manage devices. Tasks might include locating, locking or wiping a lost or stolen device. MDM can also be used to update software and delete or back up data.
The planning and prevention tactics above apply to businesses and really, everyone. Employees should be rigorously trained on proactive security and the tricks that cyber thieves use.