Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD

Devices & Hardware News

The Importance of Data Encryption in BYOD Strategies

By Vera Gruessner

- As more consumers adopt and utilize smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets, the growth of BYOD strategies will impact a variety of fields including the healthcare industry. With high numbers of people owning a smartphone and using it in the workplace, it becomes more imperative for companies to create strong BYOD strategies that incorporate best practices for privacy and security.

Data Security Risks

The healthcare industry in particular will need to be careful when allowing employees to utilize their own mobile devices, as all patient data needs to be protected from cyber-attacks and data breaches. If potential security risks are addressed and managed effectively through strong BYOD strategies, enabling employees to use their own devices could actually have significant benefits.

Essentially, it allows for more flexibility for workers including a more flexible schedule to manage their patient base remotely. Additionally, a BYOD policy could save a company costs associated with supplementing employees with relevant technologies.

According to the Lexology publication, employers will need to consider the hours an employee works if BYOD strategies or policies are incorporated. For instance, will employees be expected to respond to phone calls or emails after work hours when they are away from the office?

Additionally, an employer will need to look into the state laws associated with reimbursing their workers for the use of a personal mobile device such as a smartphone. These type of issues will need to be addressed when developing an effective BYOD policy.

“The employer can preserve the confidentiality and security of corporate information by requiring that employees permit the installation of certain security measures as a condition of participation in the BYOD programme,” Lexology reported. “Such measures include encryption, password protection, automatic log-out after a short period of inactivity, automatic lock-down after a small number of unsuccessful log-in attempts and remote wipe capability.”

The resource also recommends the installation of a ‘sand box’ on a user’s personal mobile device, which consists of a password-protected encryption and will hold only the business’s files and information. The sand box can also be removed from the user’s personal device without discarding any personal data.

When developing BYOD strategies, it is vital to point out in the policy that all corporate data belongs to the employer. Even if an employee holds information on their own device, this does not affect the ownership of the corporate data.

It is also important to know what steps to take in the case of a data breach in order to move forward in protecting stored files as best as possible. This is especially important in the case of patient data being compromised, as it could put the patient’s safety at risk.

“The BYOD policy should instruct employees to report immediately to the employer the actual or suspected compromise of any information stored on the personal device. The policy should designate the person or group to whom such reports should be made and provide contact information,” the article stated.

“The most common cause of a security breach involving a mobile device is the loss or theft of the device. The employer can typically mitigate the risk of a security breach in those circumstances by confirming that the device is encrypted and password protected, and by remotely wiping the device promptly after receiving the report of the device’s loss or theft.”

By following the advice offered above, healthcare organizations and businesses across the country will be ready to develop robust BYOD strategies and policies that ensure patient data remains safe and secure. By preventing data breaches, medical facilities will be protecting patient safety across the healthcare spectrum.

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