Laptops, tablets, and smartphones have become indispensable parts of our lives. More and more small- or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have implemented regulations that empower their employees to use these personal gadgets for their work lives as well.
This policy is known as bring your own device (BYOD), and its growing popularity shows consumer technology is influencing business processes. Based on these statistics, 61% of surveyed employees believe they are more efficient and productive in the office when they use their personal gadgets instead of the provided equipment. If your organization could save as much as $350 a year per employee with a BYOD policy, then it is in your best interest to implement it.
Cybersecurity risks with BYOD
While BYOD offers various benefits for the office, it is also burdened by major hurdles concerning securing your data. For instance, what happens if your employee has his laptop or mobile phone stolen? Or what will you do about the employee who resigned from your SME, but still has access to your network via his computer or mobile device?
Some of the major security risks that BYOD may pose include:
Data leakage may occur whenever your workforce accesses their confidential payroll information or business email through a personal mobile device. Your sensitive information can also be compromised or lost if the device is stolen, misplaced, or hacked, or if an employee accidentally forwards classified information to an outsider.
BYOD relies heavily on cloud technology. The latter's stringent security measures have helped lessen incidents of data loss due to leakage. However, a healthy BYOD program must still include regular backups and updated security barriers.
In 2016, the smartphone game app called “Pokemon Go!” was downloaded by millions of people, making it a global phenomenon. Weeks after the craze began, fake Pokemon apps flooded the app stores. Some players downloaded these apps thinking they could activate cheats or tips for the game, but they ended up installing adware on their devices.
Malicious apps can take over a user's mobile device, resulting in loss of work or personal information, unexpected call or data charges, and unwanted surveillance.
How to avoid BYOD security risks
Cybersecurity within a BYOD policy will depend a lot on your employees' daily actions. You need to train all of your staff members to look out for malicious applications and recognize phishing tactics. It may be a challenge for your company to keep up with the latest cybersecurity techniques, but you need to mobilize your employees to ensure your network’s security.
Aside from employee education, here are other security features to help you control and monitor access to your data:
Mobile device management (MDM) software
MDM allows administrators to configure, manage, and monitor all BYOD devices from one central hub. Administrators can also implement application and security settings in all devices that log in to your network, which include the following:
- Remotely perform software patches and updates on connected devices
- Remotely wipe lost or stolen devices
- Set up automatic data backup via the cloud
Mobile application management (MAM) software
While MDM software is designed for controlling the hardware itself, MAM enables and secures IT control over applications on both personal and work smartphones and tablets.
Here are some approaches to MAM:
- Application wrapping and software development kits (SDKs) involve extra code being added to an app, either during (SDKs) or after (app wrapping) its development process. This code connects the software to MAM so IT administrators can enforce policies on the software and protect its data.
- Containerization isolates an app or group of apps into containers so that they cannot interact with other apps on the device. An example is the Dual Messenger mode on the Samsung Galaxy J8, where users can create two separate profiles on the phone, each with its own exclusive apps.
Since BYOD can take corporate data outside of your company’s cybersecurity measures, it is a must to encrypt data while in transit or at rest. Encryption makes sure that your sensitive information will be safe even if your device is stolen or your data is intercepted over an unsecured hotspot by cybercriminals.
Our experts at PC LAN Techs help organizations in South Florida get more out of modern technology. We’re the outsourced IT department you can depend on. Call us today to be free of IT-related stress.