In recent years there has been a marked uptick
in the number of contract, part-time, and temporary roles in the workplace. The reasoning behind this is simple. These alternative work options reflect the more flexible work environment that many people now crave – at the same time they lower overhead costs for businesses while also allowing them to be more agile.
The fact that the rise in non-permanent roles has coincided with the growth in the bring your own device (BYOD)
movement is no accident. In many ways, contractors and BYOD go hand in hand. Contracted workers and other flexible employees are more likely to be mobile than their full-time counterparts, making them excellent candidates for BYOD. Organizations stand to gain a lot by allowing contractors to use their own devices, but there are several concerns that need to be addressed in their BYOD solutions.
Mobile App Security
The main concern enterprises have with contracted workers using their own devices is mobile app security
. This potentially puts sensitive information at risk should the contractor decide to leave unexpectedly. Contractors could also introduce security vulnerabilities to the enterprise by connecting a compromised device to the network or through poor security practices.
Establish Secure Policies
Because of the finite nature of contract roles – and the fact that contractors generally receive less hands-on corporate training – consider establishing a separate set of BYOD policies for contract and other alternative employees. In order to reduce IT burden, explicitly outline your expectations for how contractors should use and maintain their device(s) for work purposes.
These can include:
- Prohibiting the use of jailbroken or rooted devices
- Installing the latest manufacturer and/or OS updates
- Keeping personal and private data separate at all times
- Restricting the storage and transmission of corporate data to a list of approved applications
Implementing BYOD Solutions
From a technical perspective, there are several different ways to support BYOD solutions for contracted workers. Mobile device management (MDM) provides security at the device level, allowing you to remotely manage sensitive data and impose security features such as encryption, password protection, and VPN connections. In the event a contractor breaks ties with the company or loses his or her device, MDM makes it possible to remotely lock or wipe the device. MDM is only a solution if the contractor is willing to allow complete device surveillance (even personal data, or other clients' data) and has no other device management profiles -- both circumstance are unlikely, so MDM is typically not a feasible solution for contractors.
Mobile application management
(MAM™) – which secures information from an application level without interfering with the device itself – is another (and our preferred) option for implementing BYOD solutions for contractors. MAM is primarily implemented through a process called app wrapping
, whereby a ‘management’ layer is added to an application without altering its underlying functionality. Within this layer, you can add any number of security features, including encryption, copy-and-paste restrictions, password protection, and more. If a device is lost or stolen, the enterprise can wipe sensitive data from all corporate applications without adversely affecting the device itself.
Play by the Rules
For some industries, BYOD solutions for contractors will be steered by regulatory requirements. Defense contractors, for example, must abide by the Federal Information Processing Standards. All enterprises must also take into account the legal ramifications of their BYOD policies and should be careful not to encroach on the rights of contractors as device owners. The key is to be transparent and explicit about all policies, expectations, and procedures surrounding BYOD usage.
Download this case study
to learn how a financial services company supports both an internal and external workforce with the peace of mind that sensitive corporate data is secure.