Bring Your Own Device: How to Educate Your Employees On Cybersecurity Best Practices

April 22, 2024  |  Karoline Gore

The content of this post is solely the responsibility of the author.  AT&T does not adopt or endorse any of the views, positions, or information provided by the author in this article. 


With the rise of remote and flexible work arrangements, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs that allow employees to use their personal devices for work are becoming increasingly mainstream. In addition to slashing hardware costs, BYOD improves employee satisfaction by 56% and productivity by 55%, a survey by Crowd Research Partners finds. Yet, cybersecurity remains a concern for businesses. 72% are worried about data leakage or loss, while 52% fear the potential for malware on personal devices. But by implementing a strong BYOD policy and educating your employees on cybersecurity best practices, you can reap the benefits of BYOD without putting your company assets and data at risk.

Put a Formal BYOD Policy in Place

Just as your business has acceptable use policies in place for corporate devices, similar policies for personal devices are just as important. Your company’s BYOD policy should provide your employees with clear rules and guidelines on how they can use their devices safely at work without compromising cybersecurity. This policy should cover:

  • Devices, software, and operating systems that can be used to access digital business resources
  • Devices, software, and operating systems that can’t be used to access digital business resources
  • Policies that outline the acceptable use of personal devices for corporate activities
  • Essential security measures employees must follow on personal devices (such as, complex passwords and regular security updates)
  • Steps employees must follow if their device is stolen or lost (like immediately report it to their manager or IT department)
  • A statement that your business will erase company-related data from lost or stolen devices remotely
  • What happens if an employee violates your BYOD policy (are you going to revoke certain access privileges? If you give employees an allowance to cover BYOD costs, will you freeze the funds? Provide additional corrective training?).

Don’t forget to also include a signature field the employee must sign in to indicate their agreement with your BYOD policies. The best time to introduce employees to the policy is during onboarding or, for existing employees, during the network registration process for the BYOD device. Setting expectations and educating your employees is essential to protect both company data and employee privacy.

Basic Cybersecurity Training

When putting together your BYOD employee training program, don’t make the mistake of thinking basic device security is too…basic. It’s not. Since personal devices are usually less secure than corporate devices, they’re generally at a greater risk of data breaches, viruses, and loss or theft. Comprehensive user education that includes the basics is therefore all the more important to mitigate these risks.

So as a basic rule, your employees should know not to allow their devices to auto-connect to public networks. If, on rare occasions, employees really do need to access company data on an open network, they should use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt data and hide web activity, which adds an extra layer of security when accessing wifi networks. Shockingly, 22% of businesses say their employees have connected to malicious wifi networks on their personal devices in the past 12 months. Although it’s second nature for most of us to connect to public wifi networks, they’re often unsecured and vulnerable to attack, malware, and data breaches. Employees therefore need to understand and know how to mitigate these risks. t

Regular Software Updates

You should also educate your employees on the need to regularly update their operating system in order to bridge any security gaps. A whopping 95% of all cyberattacks target unpatched vulnerabilities. Software updates should therefore be downloaded and installed as soon as they’re released by the manufacturer. The same goes for apps. They also need to be updated regularly so as to fix any weaknesses that can let in malware or be exploited by cybercriminals. Also, emphasize that employees can only use expressly authorized apps for work tasks as unauthorized apps carry a greater risk of data breaches and privacy violations.

User education is central to any successful BYOD policy. By communicating a comprehensive BYOD policy to your employees and educating them on cybersecurity best practices, you can reap the advantages of your BYOD policy without risk to your company data or cybersecurity.

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