A guide to BYOD security
What is BYOD security?
First things first, what does BYOD security actually mean? Well, BYOD stands for ‘bring your own device’, as opposed to using work-specific technology within the office. Once seen as a novelty, this method has since risen in popularity, as evident in a survey revealing that 50% of organisations and over 70% of employees use personal devices at work. Although this could be seen as beneficial to members of staff – being the familiarity that comes with using their own gadgets – the BYOD strategy comes with its own risks that should always be factored into your workplace security checklist.
Biggest BYOD Security risks
So, why is BYOD security so important? When members of staff choose to work from personal devices, like mobiles, laptops, USB drives and tablets, they are considerably less secure. Bearing this in mind, hackers will always favour these when breaking into corporate networks and accessing confidential information.
Not only this, personal devices are much harder to keep tabs on. A survey revealed that 17.7% of respondents admit that they don’t tell their IT departments when they’re using personal devices for work-related tasks, and this level of secrecy could carry some of the following risks.
When using a device for both personal and office use, it’s likely that the app store will be visited a fair few times. However, not all of these applications are safe to use, and some downloads can present major security risks. The same goes for surfing the web, when either intentionally or accidentally heading over to illegal streaming websites and being met with an array of dodgy advertisements. More often than not, an infected device can go undetected, and users may continue to fall victim to cyberattacks without even knowing it.
How to avoid this? Encourage staff to identify any apps or websites they come across that appear to be untrustworthy, and be sure to make a record of any devices that noticeably come under attack, or those that ask to store data on devices. It may be more effective to instead use an enterprise app store, which only allows workers to download secure, business-approved mobile applications. Where accessing the internet is concerned, always encourage your staff to avoid connecting to public wireless hotspots or unsecured networks to avoid BYOD security risks.
In a world where 64% of companies globally have experienced at least one form of cyber attack, business owners are advised to be especially careful when permitting BYOD. Considering this, you should always communicate the potential data breaching risks with your employees to maintain a security oriented culture.
Data hacks are particularly common with lost or stolen devices, so it’s vital to know what to do in the unfortunate event that this should occur. Inform employees that time is of the essence, and that they should always let someone know straight away if their device goes missing.
Although extra care should be taken to make sure that devices aren’t lost, you should still prepare for the worst. Always create secure passwords for devices, and never (and we mean never) store them in your phone’s notes for everyone to see – even if you’re prone to forgetfulness.
We’re all guilty of hitting snooze on the ‘update available’ notification, but did you know that this is one of the major BYOD security mistakes? Always remind members of staff to make sure that their devices are equipped with the most up-to-date software, as these updates aim to fix security related issues that the previous failed to target. When this is done, your business is much less likely to come under cyberattack.
When using devices for both home and personal use, more often than not, people will be sharing this with family and friends. Although this may seem harmless, it can present as a significant security risk. Children won’t be aware of the harmful apps we mentioned previously, plus accidental deletion of important business data could occur.
To avoid this, always be sure to backup your device in case of emergency, and select which devices to store sensitive information on. For example, if children are more likely to go on a mobile phone, consider keeping this free of crucial data and store it on a secure computer instead.
This is where it’s also important to use strong passwords wherever possible, in order to protect documents that could accidentally be deleted.
Moving forwards with BYOD security
Recognising the importance of BYOD security is essential for any business, and if you’re thinking of implementing this working strategy, always encourage open-communication with your members of staff. They should be made aware of the risks that can occur, how to avoid them, and of what to do if a cyberattack should happen. Building a culture that rewards transparency is crucial for ensuring optimum security.
If you need advice on optimising your workplace strategy, or how to get one in place, get in touch with our team of security professionals today. From access control systems to car park management, we can work with you to keep your whole perimeter as safe as possible.