Some Dangers of the BYOD Trend
As the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend takes a stronger hold in today’s business world, it has the potential to expose enterprises to risks not previously addressed. Though basic security measures are often in place for corporate devices, regulating the activities of BYOD employees can pose a bigger challenge. Blurring the line between business and personal, a new perspective may be required to ensure your network security, and that the convenience to your employees does not harm their productivity.
Though the threat of malware to a business is nothing new, controlling what the network is exposed to becomes more complicated with BYOD. While your workplace-issued devices are controlled by the security programs you have in place, an individual may not be as careful with their own devices. This means, your employees could unknowingly bring in infected devices, and transfer that infection to devices within your network. Be it a Trojan, ransom-ware, or any other form of infection, malware can slow enterprise systems, corrupt company files, or steal company data.
Most corporations require basic precautions when it comes to protecting their data. Whether it is secured entry ways, or password requirements when logging into computers, there are normally barriers in place to keep the unwelcome out. A person may find restrictions on their personal devices to be inconvenient. They may choose not to password protect their smartphones or laptops as stringently, if they do at all. That means any person can access the content of their devices, which, as a BYOD device, now has information on it that should have remained private to your business.
The more mobile a device is, the easier it is to lose. Smartphones get left on tables, in cabs, or in hotel rooms. The same goes for laptops, and tablets. A misplaced device could be found by someone who decides to take advantage of the fact they can now access corporate resources. This risk only increases if the user does not have basic security in place to prevent unauthorized access.
Breaking into your facility and walking out with a desktop computer tower would present a bit of a challenge. Grabbing a laptop while someone has their back turned is much simpler. The smaller, more portable, a device is, the easier it is to steal. Whether someone chooses to target your business specifically, or if your employee is just an unlucky victim, your corporate data may now be exposed.
Whether having a person click an insidious link in an email, or accessing their communications through an unsecured Wi-Fi access point, hacking can be a real threat. By forcing their way into a user’s system, at times unbeknownst to the person being hacked, they may gain access to corporate resources and information. They may be able to send messages through your employee’s email, infecting more employees and systems with greater ease than an overtly external attack.
Personal Business on Company Time
If an employee is using their smartphone for both business and personal reasons, this may result in more personal activities taking place during company time. While reviewing a document before a presentation, they may have trouble ignoring the social network notification that pops up unexpectedly. There could be a distracting link to a video in a personal email, or news that their favorite store is having a flash sale. All of these issues could result in lower productivity, which can negatively impact your business.
How to Address the Risks with your Employees
The most direct way to mitigate these new risks is through proper employee training. Ensuring they know how to spot possible malware attacks can prevent issues later on. Also, informing them on what should be done should an attack occur, can help speed up response time to a potential incident. Further, developing corporate policy on the proper use of BYOD equipment can highlight issues of productivity.
Mobile Device Management Software
In order to exert more control over company data, implementing a Mobile Device Management (MDM) software solution can provide an extra layer of protection. It can give you the ability to separate corporate data from personal on BYOD equipment. Remote wiping capabilities are common, and remote location options may also be available. Encryption of corporate data can be enforced, and other minimum security measures, such as password requirements, can be included.
Through awareness, and proper management, the risks presented by BYOD programs can be limited. Using an MDM can provide additional control over work activities without restricting personal ones. Although no system is foolproof, employee training can help educate the human-factor, and policies can provide functional guidelines, to limit the risks as much as possible.
Article provided by NECHES FCU, an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.
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