Cybersecurity & BYOD: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Cybersecurity & BYOD: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Please don’t, but if you must…

Allowing employees to work from their personal devices may seem like a cost-efficient solution at first glance, but it can come with significant security risks. A security breach can often result in much higher costs than the initial savings. Additionally, employees may not be comfortable using their personal devices for work and may not want to risk damaging them or exposing company information.

While Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) may not be the ideal solution for all companies, it may be the only option available. In this case, it's important to not only implement best practices for BYOD but also to be aware of the potential risks associated with implementing a BYOD environment in the workplace.

The Risks of BYOD

Unauthorized Access

One might assume that individuals would take extra precautions to protect their personal devices, such as phones, tablets, or laptops. However, the truth is that nearly every company is vulnerable to a data breach caused by a lost or stolen device. This risk applies to both personal and company-issued devices. Implementing a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution can mitigate this risk by allowing for remote wipe of lost or stolen devices. A better option would be to partner with an outsourced IT service provider like Sentryon, who not only can implement an MDM but also cover the cost and provide immediate assistance in case of a crisis.

Another concern is unauthorized access when an employee leaves a company. With company-issued devices, IT teams can easily wipe the data before giving the device to a new employee. However, with personal devices, there is less control, especially if an employee leaves unexpectedly and does not return to the office.

Unsecured Networks

While it may be tempting to work from a coffee shop or other public spaces with free Wi-Fi, it is not the most secure option for accessing company data. Public Wi-Fi in places such as coffee shops or airports can be easily accessed by hackers. If working in public spaces is unavoidable, consider implementing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for your team to increase security.

Best Security Practices for BYOD

Have a Personal Device Policy

Before implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in the workplace, it is important to have a clear policy in place. This policy should outline rules and guidelines for employees to follow in order to protect the company's security, data, and infrastructure. Some important considerations to include in the policy may include:

  • What types of devices or operating systems are acceptable to use?
  • What is your strong password policy?
  • What files and data is allowed to be stored on a personal device?
  • What apps and sites are employees allowed to access on the company network/What apps and websites are restricted?
  • Are webcams allowed to be enabled on site?
  • Are there any security measures employees are required to take?
  • These are just a few out of many questions you should consider when it comes to protecting your company’s security in a personal device policy.

Educate Employees

Effective communication is crucial when implementing a BYOD policy. Employees should be informed about the potential consequences of a cyber security breach on the company and their responsibilities in preventing such incidents. Regular training on different types of cyber attacks and social engineering techniques, as well as how to recognize them, should be provided. It is also important to establish protocols for employees to follow in case of a security breach.

Use MFA Everywhere

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a vital component of company security. While using strong and complex passwords is advisable, not all employees may follow best practices for password management. MFA provides an additional layer of security when accessing company data by requiring multiple forms of verification.

Implement Cloud-Based Solutions

There are various cloud-based solutions that can improve security for businesses, particularly when employees are using their personal devices. Cloud storage is already widely used as it enables employees to collaborate easily and access work files from anywhere at any time. If your company is in the process of selecting a cloud storage solution and many employees will be using their own devices, it is important to evaluate the security features offered by the vendors under consideration.

Summing It All Up

The key point we're making is that company-issued devices are almost always a better option than Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in the long run. Additionally, working with an IT service provider such as Sentryon can provide added security and support, including the ability to remotely wipe lost or stolen devices.