We'd love to work with you!

By answering these 7 questions, we can find out if we're a match

BYOD Has Security Risks… But Does It Have To?

Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2023 and filed under

Risks of BYOD

Giving employees the option to work from home is now a crucial employee retention and talent acquisition strategy. In fact, 78% of Canadian workers report that they favour employers with remote work options. One challenge with this is giving employees the tools they need to work. Issuing office devices costs money, so many rely on BYOD. Yet, there are risks of BYOD.

For the uninitiated, BYOD stands for bring-your-own-device. It refers to a policy that allows employees to use their own personal devices for work purposes. This could include desktops, laptops, or mobile phones depending on the nature of their role.

“There’s nothing inherently better or worse about having a BYOD policy. That’s completely your decision. The problem is always lack of proper security measures, BYOD or not.” Jim Stackhouse, Founder & Chief Technologist, NeoLore Networks

An employer needs to have a lot of trust in employees to let this happen. BYOD devices will connect to your corporate network, so the security risk is real. However, it doesn’t need to be this way. You can reduce your BYOD risks with a few essential best practices.

5 Problems With BYOD & What You Can Do To Solve Them

1. Insecure Devices

You’re probably already aware of how different people can be when it comes to cybersecurity on their personal devices. While some might have state-of-the-art security tools, others might be lagging, using outdated software, or even lacking basic protection altogether.

Once the laggers connect to your network, you have a security problem. However, you can prevent that risk by specifying device security standards in your BYOD policy. Have minimum security requirements and make it mandatory for employees to update their software regularly.

What Should Your Security Minimum Be?

Here’s a quick guide.

If You… You Need…(at minimum)
Allow Access to Data of Low Sensitivity (e.g., public information) To require screen locks with PINs and enforce regular software updates
Allow Access to Data of Moderate Sensitivity (e.g., internal communications) Extra strong password requirements and encryption
Allow Access to Data of High Sensitivity (e.g., personal data about clients) Multi-factor authentication, device management software, and regular security audits
Allow Personal Device Use in The Office To provide a secure Wi-Fi company connection and- implement physical security measures
Primarily Have Remote Employees To consider a VPN and anti-phishing software
Permit International Travel with BYOD Devices To encourage employees to disable data roaming and recommend the use of secure, company-approved networks only

2. Lost or Stolen Devices

People misplace their personal belongings all the time. Mobile devices and laptops are certainly no exception. Employees who work in public spaces also run the risk of theft if they leave their devices unattended. The trouble is that BYOD devices hold a lot of your company’s sensitive data. If that device falls into the wrong hands, so does all that information.

Encourage employees to turn on device tracking and remote data wiping. If someone loses their device, they can find it or delete its data from afar. Strong password policies should also be a given. This helps keep unauthorized users out even if they have the device in their hands.

3. Compatibility Issues

When employees use their own devices, they bring a mix of brands, operating systems, and software versions. An app that works smoothly on company devices might crash or malfunction on an employee’s. This can disrupt work, reduce productivity, or even compromise data integrity.

How Else Can You Take Your IT Game to The Next Level?

Start by creating a list of approved devices and operating systems. This ensures that all devices can run the necessary company apps without hitches. Additionally, consider using cloud-based applications. These apps often work across various devices and platforms, reducing compatibility risks.

4. Compliance Risks

Some industries, like healthcare and finance, have strict regulations about how data can be handled, stored, and transmitted. Leaving that data to remote workers using personal devices can make it harder to ensure that all these regulations are consistently followed.

For this reason, you may not want to let everyone save company data on their devices. Make it clear what data can be on personal devices and what can’t. Check device usage often to make sure everyone follows the rules. If people need access to highly regulated data, make that happen through protected cloud storage.

5. Increased Risk of Insider Threats

Many companies with BYOD policies work with contractors and people offshore. In many cases, the employer has never met all their employees in-person before. This lack of direct oversight comes with a slightly higher risk of insider data breaches.

Get Your Whole IT Service Suite From NeoLore
Managed IT IT Support Consulting Network Support Helpdesk Security Outsourcing

It’s important to realize that not all insider threats are malicious. Sometimes, an employee may enact a security breach unknowingly. Yet, the consequences remain the same no matter the intent.

Invest in security software that can monitor and log activities on devices connected to your company network. This way, any unusual or unauthorized activity can be quickly detected and addressed. You should also educate employees about the risks. For example, you may consider having a strict “no working using public Wi-Fi” policy.

Need an Extra Hand Keeping BYOD Risks and Issues at Bay?

Managing a team of employees is always a lot of work, remote or not. We understand that taking the time you need to take to reduce the security risks of BYOD might seem like more trouble than it’s worth.

Let the good folks at NeoLore Networks help you through that! Our team includes both cybersecurity experts and seasoned IT consultants who can help you craft an airtight BYOD policy.

Of course, no one can truly promise 110% impenetrable cybersecurity. That’s exactly why we pair our high-caliber defenses with swift acting reactive services. This way, you can get back to normal faster and with minimal damage if the worst case scenario happens.

What are you waiting for? Reach out today to see how we can help.