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BYOD, UC Both Require Dedicated Security Policies

December 23, 2015 by Valerie Meffert

Cybersecurity is a top-level priority for every business today. There's simply no such thing as an organization that can safely afford to ignore the importance of cybersecurity. Every firm creates, collects, and stores large amounts of sensitive data, and this information will always serve as an appealing target to malicious cybercriminals.

This is a key point for any organization considering a unified communications strategy that incorporates bring-your-own-device policies, as TechTarget contributor Jon Arnold recently highlighted. Without dedicated security policies, both UC and BYOD can become dangerous liabilities for companies' overall cybersecurity posture. With high-quality strategies, though, these resources can be utilized by workers without increasing the risk of a data breach or other cyberattack.

App Protection

One of the biggest issues when it comes to UC and BYOD security is app protection. Inevitably, these solutions will involve a number of different apps, as these will allow employees to access the company's UC capabilities from whatever devices they happen to own. But while this approach greatly improves workforce flexibility and productivity, it creates significant risk, as well. If app protection is handled improperly, an unauthorized user could potentially gain access to sensitive corporate information.

Passwords are key in this regard. According to Arnold, proactively managing passwords for UC-related apps is "the single most important thing employees can do to keep company data secure." The trick is actually achieving this goal. As virtually every IT department member has doubtlessly encountered, many employees do not have the best track records when it comes to password usage. In a large number of cases, workers will tend to skip passwords altogether. When passwords are required, many users resort to the most obvious and easy to bypass options available, such as "12345" or "password." Obviously, this adds little to the company's overall cybersecurity capabilities.

Business leaders can counteract this problem by adopting more stringent policies in this area. From top to bottom, personnel should be required to create strong passwords for all of their UC-related apps, and to update these passwords periodically. A single memo distributed throughout the company is not likely to achieve this end result, but regular reminders, combined with enforceable consequences for failure to comply, will help to ensure that personnel follow this key best practice.

Security Awareness

In addition to relying on enforcement, company leaders can also encourage the adoption of UC security best practices by increasing awareness among the workforce. Oftentimes, employees will ignore or downplay the importance of proactive cybersecurity because they simply do not appreciate the seriousness of the issue. With better, more thorough training and engagement, though, company leaders can help ensure that everyone is on board not just with the policies, but also with the underlying principles.

The writer also asserted that company leaders should make employees aware of the potential dangers involved with public Internet.

"It's hard to avoid using the public Internet, but employees need to understand how easily viruses and malware travel there," Arnold wrote. "And if their device is infected, business-related data becomes vulnerable."

Going further, Arnold emphasized that employees should never use their own devices and UC apps in conjunction with public Wi-Fi. Free public Wi-Fi presents even greater danger than public Internet in general, and can easily lead directly to a data breach.

Last, but not least, the writer asserted that companies need to make their employees understand what their own responsibilities are when it comes to BYOD and UC security. Once these boundaries are established, workers will likely become more cautious when utilizing the resources in question, helping to protect the company's data from cyberthreats.

Valerie Meffert
Valerie Meffert

Having written for companies ranging from MTV and CBS to the Winter Olympic Games and Reuters, Valerie heads up ThinkingPhones' communications and PR machine. At the risk of dating herself, she'd like to point out that her MTV tenure occurred during the Carson Daly era—she takes no credit (nor blame) for "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila." A resident of Park City, UT, Valerie enjoys the four things her town is most famous for: hiking, skiing, film festivals, and weak beer.

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