Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Gifts That Keep on Giving

You’ve no doubt heard it around the office quite a bit lately: “Sorry if the ringer on my new phone is too loud. It really resonates off the diamond-encrusted case!”

People are proud of the new smartphones they received during the holidays. And why not? They’re so shiny!

But, as the old saying goes, all that glitters may be a threat to your systems. So once you can see after being temporarily blinded from the glare, it’s time to start pooping on some parties.

Because the sad fact is no one likes to be told what to do with their personal belongings. We’ve told a few colleagues what they can do with their brand new “hoverboards” and it did not go over well. (Note: They have wheels. Ergo, they can not be hover boards.)

However, a risk is a risk, no matter how small, and no amount of shiny and shimmer can make a breach of security look luxurious.

One doesn’t even have to look very far to see what kind of risk smartphones can potentially pose your systems. At the end of 2015, not one, not two, but 13 apps on the Google Play Store were found to be infected with Brain Test malware (and this thing is insidious, check out what it can do here).

Now, how do you combat such potential threats? One possible solution is to offer an additional device for work. But who wants that? Isn’t one device enough of an anchor?

The other route is the BYOD policy.

While not as festive as the similar-sounding BYOB policy, the BYOD policy does go a bit further in protecting your systems from intruders. A sound BYOD policy will dictate which apps and data are allowed on a device and allow you to monitor data usage. More up-to-date BYOD policies will go as far as outline which wearables devices are allowed (Though the wearable threat isn’t as substantial yet, we all know it’s on the way).

If you’re not sure what to include in your policy, there are plenty of templates and examples online. Although, like anything you find online, you’ll want someone to review it first. In this case, probably a member of your organization’s legal team.

We even found this nifty little article on developing your own policy in-house. In particular, be mindful of item 5, which encourages training. Which reminds us...

No matter how nicely worded or what fancy fonts you may use, people still may be hesitant to adapt any BYOD policy. “Get your hands off my BYOD!” they may cry. Which, of course, is far different than “Get your hands off my BODY!”

Not that we would know.

What to do? If you’ll allow us a moment for some shameless self promotion, the solution to your team’s BYOD policy aversion can very easily be found right here;

“But it’s still a BYOD policy,” you cry. “No amount of hilarity can ever change that!”

True. But sometimes, as our friends from Texas are fond of saying, all this pig needs is another shade of lipstick. And if we apply that lipstick to a pair of wax lips and allow that pig to tell some great jokes, then you have a system of training that’s hard to beat and easy to remember.

And not only do we provide an entertaining and sticky method for training your team, we’ll provide an entertaining and sticky way to tell them of the risks inherent with letting people run all willy-nilly with their brand new devices. Diamond encrusted cases and all.

So, be on the lookout for those new smartphones and other devices (they’re easy to spot – they’re positively glowing), develop or borrow a comprehensive BYOD policy (use fun fonts when appropriate), and allow us to teach your staff about the risks and reasons for a sound policy.

It’s a one-size-fits-all gift that’s welcome all year long.

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