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Background

I've recently joined a rapidly growing small business (from 4 to 20 people in last 12 months) with a very DIY IT setup. It's fallen to me (I'm a developer so I just happen to be sitting nearest IT world...) to improve their security and specifically we are aiming to achieve compliance with Cyber Essentials (we are in the UK).

The general mode of operation is that every employee is on a MacOS or Windows8+ laptop (some purchased by the company, some personal devices), and all work takes place within Google Workspace. People also connect to Google Apps like Gmail on their personal phones. There is an internet connection and wireless router in the office, but not other infrastructure to speak of.

The Question

I have prepared a long list of "to-do's" for the users of these laptops which would bring them in line with Cyber Essentials requirements, but I wondered what the guidance would be on employees "self-managing" these things (with formal training, assistance and regular check-ins). There is no device management in place and everyone just uses them like their own devices.

It could make sense to recall, wipe, set up device management of some sort, and re-issue the laptops to employees - but this would be incredibly disruptive and met with much resistance so I am keen to either avoid that or make sure I am 100% sure before requesting it.

I wondered if the protections offered by Google Workspace's endpoint protection/device management would be considered sufficient, given that business data never leaves Google Workspace (and indeed the new policy would be that this act would be a HARD no for employees!). Obviously this leaves tasks like running updates, keeping security features turned on, etc up to the employee - but that's no different to a BYOD situation - right?

I would be keen to know if anyone out there has been in a similar position. I do feel like the hard way is probably the right way but any advice would go a long way to helping my argument for this with management.

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  • So, you have a BYOD scenario. Use the BYOD guidance from CE.
    – schroeder
    Jul 20, 2021 at 18:44
  • Win8 devices will fail you first off.
    – schroeder
    Jul 20, 2021 at 18:48

1 Answer 1

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Since COVID, many places have the same scenario. CE assessors can guide you through options.

The main thing is that you can know what devices you have that are in scope and that you can assess patch levels and software inventories. Whatever method you have where you can do that and show that devices in scope are updated, you have covered most of the device-level requirements.

With the new question set, any device that accesses company data (even if you are 100% SaaS) is in scope, so you need to show some sort of control over those devices.

You are basically in a BYOD scenario, so use the BYOD guidance. Staff need a combination of training and policy, and technical requirements need to be met.

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  • Yes, software versions are required. It's the 2nd question in the technical part of the assessment. And with the new CE update (a.k.a "Beacon") it is not just critical updates, but any update (like a service pack) that does not specify if it is a security update, so, yes, versions are required.
    – schroeder
    Jul 21, 2021 at 21:44
  • Don't assume I do anything out of spite. Your answer is technically incorrect. That is all.
    – schroeder
    Jul 21, 2021 at 21:44
  • I'm a certified CE assessor and run a team doing assessments. I know the question set ... again, do not assume I am doing anything out of spite ...
    – schroeder
    Jul 21, 2021 at 21:55
  • And that was both spite and snark. Do not push things. You are focused on me and not the topic.
    – schroeder
    Jul 21, 2021 at 22:01
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    Uh, sure, but I'm not sure how/why that is relevant. You want to know what device has what version. You can report a range, but you need the data.
    – schroeder
    Jul 21, 2021 at 22:12

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