Bring Your Own Device Security
July 1, 2022 – Reading Time: 8-11 minutes
“Bring Your Own Device” continues to be a huge opportunity as well as a major challenge for businesses. Learn how to harvest the benefits of allowing employees to work on their own hardware and minimize IT security risk by taking the proper approach to develop effective BYOD policies
A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) security policy is required if your company permits employees to bring their own computing devices to work, whether they are laptops. Employees initially solely utilized company-issued gadgets in the workplace. Laptops have become so common in the consumer sector that practically every employee now brings their own internet-connected gadget to work. This means there's a greater chance of an employee posing a security risk to your company.
What is BYOD Security?
Bring your own device (BYOD) refers to employees connecting to an organization's network using personal devices to access work-related systems and potentially sensitive data. According to various studies, more than half of companies and more than 70% of employees use personal devices at work, and these statistics are continuously increasing.
As a result, IT and security leaders are concerned about BYOD security. Personal devices, whether or not they are allowed by IT, are more likely to be used to get into business networks because they are less secure and more likely to include security holes than corporate devices. As a result, understanding and addressing BYOD security is crucial for businesses of all sizes.
What is the Importance of BYOD Security?
Because personal devices are likely to enter the office whether or not they are sanctioned by IT, BYOD security is an essential concern for corporate executives. BYOD solutions can boost employee productivity and morale in many circumstances. Personal device access to an organization's network, on the other hand, if left neglected by IT, can pose major security risks.
BYOD Security Risks
Three of the most serious concerns associated with BYOD devices are listed below.
Data Loss and Leakage
When employees use personal devices at work, any access to the business network poses a risk, regardless of whether the employee is performing mundane tasks like login into a work email account or more sensitive tasks like examining financial or HR records.
Attackers can use phishing or malware to acquire access to a lost or stolen device, or compromise a device while it is still in the employee's possession. At that point, attackers have three basic damage options:
Take data from the device's local storage.
To gain access to the corporate network, use credentials stored on the device.
Remove all data from the device.
The second technique is particularly risky because a hacked account may appear to be a legitimate user accessing business networks at first.
Cloud backup solutions can mitigate the third option, but they must be set up carefully or they can become an attack vector.
Combining Personal and Professional Use
Employees will unavoidably execute both business and personal functions on the same device as a result of BYOD. Your company will have no control over the websites that employees visit, some of which may be harmful or compromised, or the applications that they install. Devices could be used by the employee's children or other family members, or they could connect to insecure wireless networks, the list of possible hazards is infinite.
Laptops are frequently infected with malware, and most users are unaware that their phone is infected. What's more concerning is that, because mobile users install a huge number of apps and may only use them once in a while, they may be oblivious to the terms of service or permissions they allow to new apps.
Operating system flaws are the most dangerous on desktop and laptop computers. The majority of consumers do not update their operating systems with the latest security patches on a regular basis. Identifying the current OS running on employee devices and ensuring they have the latest updates is a top priority in any BYOD program.
Finally, consumers utilize antivirus software on their own devices in a variety of ways. Some devices may not be protected at all, while others may be secured by ineffective free or unknown antivirus apps.
How to Create a BYOD Policy
IT organizations must decide whether and how to safeguard personal devices, as well as access levels. Above all, a specified BYOD security policy should advise and educate employees on how to use BYOD without threatening company data or networks.
The following are important aspects of BYOD policies:
Devices that have been authorized
Policies on data security and ownership
Personal gadgets are given different levels of IT assistance (if any)
Overall IT security and permissible use standards should be coupled with a strong BYOD security policy. IT leaders must strike a balance between organizational security and employees' personal privacy when determining the extent of assistance they will provide for personal devices.
Pros and Cons of BYOD Security
The following are some of the benefits of allowing employees to bring their own devices to work:
According to a study, a 16 % increase in output during a 40-hour workweek* can be achieved by increasing staff productivity.
Supporting flexible work options increased employee job satisfaction and retention.
Employee productivity increases as a result of their increased comfort and quickness with their own devices.
Without IT spending on hardware, software licensing, or device upkeep, upgraded technologies are integrated into the workplace.
Employees that use personal gadgets on the job may face the following disadvantages:
Possible data breaches as a result of lost or stolen personal devices or personnel leaving the organization. Personal devices do not have firewall or anti-virus software installed.
If the department decides to provide assistance for personal devices, IT costs may rise.
The absence of a network
Best Practices for BYOD Security
Employees Should Be Trained
Define a BYOD security policy and, more importantly, spend time educating people on it. Users should have a clear understanding of what they can and cannot do on their personal devices, why security measures are critical, and what the penalties are if the policy is broken.
Employees should be required to participate in mandatory security training. Employee education aims to convey to employees that security threats are a threat to both the organization and the employees themselves, and that by adhering to the policy, they are improving their own and their colleagues' safety while also helping to prevent catastrophic data breaches that could endanger the organization.
Personal and Business Data should be kept Separate
When employees utilize a gadget for business purposes, privacy is a major problem. An employee's device may include sensitive personal files or information that they may not wish to share with their employer.
At the same time, sensitive company data saved on the device must be protected and only the employee should have access to it. Regardless of whether containerization technologies are employed, the BYOD policy should clearly define how to keep personal and corporate information separate and avoid unwanted exposure.
Have a plan in place to deal with Lost Devices
Employees must promptly notify their management or IT department if a gadget is lost or stolen. For important applications, IT must be prepared to perform actions such as remote device lock, data wipe, password reset, and auto-wipe. Employees should be completely aware of the protocol for device loss or theft, which should be explicitly specified in the BYOD policy.
Ensure that your Network Connection is Secure
Attackers can listen in on corporate activity if an employee is connected to the Internet or public Wi-Fi. Encourage employees to connect their devices to a secure network not only at work but also on the move. In any case, they should only use a secure, encrypted virtual private network to connect to the corporate network (VPN).
BYOD solutions have the potential to improve employee productivity. They do, however, pose network risks by accessing sensitive data on unsupported and/or insecure personal devices.
BYOD offers benefits and drawbacks, but because of its increasing prevalence, all IT departments must be informed and proactive. Policies on BYOD management are becoming more common in enterprises, and they're critical for dealing with what can be a difficult security challenge.