We celebrate the holidays with shopping, gift giving and spending quality time with friends and family. However, when January rolls around and your employees are back in the office it’s likely that they will arrive with a shiny new toy or two.

In the age where we are all trying to be connected at all times, it’s impossible to keep employee devices off of your network. Though you won’t be able to keep them off your network, make sure you implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that includes some, if not all, of the following:

Differentiated Networks 

Only approved networks can be reached by employee devices so that your most sensitive data can stay safe on its own network. These are a must to ensure that only approved users can gain access to sensitive information inside your organization.  This could entail creating a separate, highly restricted “guest” network that visitors are allowed to use, another somewhat less restrictive network for employee devices (like smartphone or tablets) that does not allow access to internal files or data, and finally, a “corporate network” where access is highly controlled and users and devices must be approved before connecting.

Only install apps that you need and only from trusted resources

The first thing to make sure of is that any application you download is creating more value for you than risks. Ensure that the applications you download aren’t serving as a gateway for potential attacks. Then, when you do install applications, stay up-to-date with updates and releases of the program to maintain the highest security.

Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using it

Leaving your connection open may leave you with a slew of problems. When your device is set to seek and join open WiFi networks you’re susceptible to vulnerabilities at all times. Keeping that connection open, or sending sensitive data across public Wi-Fi allows for anyone else on the network to potentially see what you’re doing or sending.

Do not access or store work email or other data unless you have been authorized and have proper security in place

This is why it’s recommended to use VPN access to log into your email on your personal devices to help you act as though you are on your secure work network – even if you’re working remotely.

Protect your devices with hard-to-guess PIN numbers and encrypt your data if it is an option

This falls under adding layers to your security. Avoid easily attainable personal information as pin numbers such as birth dates, social security numbers or phone numbers.

Consider enabling remote wiping 

This allows for you to selectively delete sensitive data or all data on a device remotely. This especially comes in handy in the event that a device is lost or stolen.

There’s no way to eliminate the inevitable of new devices being brought into your business at the start of the new year – but there are ways to help control it. Take these tips to help set your organization up for success at the start of the new year by establishing an action plan now.