BYOD: Is this the best idea for security?

Bring your own device (or BYOD) has been trending since the introduction of remote workers and remote workplaces. The concept is supposed to create a healthy environment for professionals, allowing them to work from home, or even when traveling. However, over the past few years, it has developed to become a continuous threat and a convenient solution for enterprises. With no proper limitations set on the use of BYOD, employees can access secured websites in open networks, thus, increasing the chances of exposing sensitive data of an organization. Unlike corporate devices, personal assets are more prone to infections, precisely malicious software.

A well-drafted BYOD policy can resolve the issue. Here are the challenges of BYOD and how to create an effective BYOD policy for the organization.

What is BYOD?

“Bring Your Own Device” is a practice that allows employees of an organization to use their own devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, or laptops, to conduct official work. The use of personal devices at the workplace for private affairs has been a prevalent practice, but with the introduction of BYOD, employees are now allowed to use their own devices for professional work as well. The former case is not much of a problem, while the latter can create a massive security-related issue.

BYOD is said to increase employee productivity, reduce IT operational costs, and improve employee engagement in the company with better employee mobility. However, it also brings in unnecessary cyber threats that can translate into destructive data breaches and a liability to the organizations.

The Need for BYOD

BYOD undoubtedly offers simple and easy to manage solutions for employees and enterprise owners. It becomes important for various reasons, including-

1. Increased employee productivity

All individuals have personal preferences regarding which device they are comfortable with. Some might prefer a smartphone over a tablet, while others might choose a laptop over a smartphone. Even when it comes to choosing operating systems, individuals have different opinions about them. In short, people are comfortable working with their devices.

BYOD allows the employees to work without even shifting to an entirely new system, eventually resulting in high-quality work. Access to private devices impacts the productivity of the employee positively.

2. Saves money

BYOD helps companies save a significant amount of money. They don’t need to buy devices for their employees, and that results in considerable savings. The companies need not worry about the maintenance and management of company assets.

3. Quick responses from employees

People are comfortable carrying their devices around. If an organization successfully implements the BYOD policy, it gives the employees direct access to all their work-related activities while on the go. Being an enterprise owner, it is great to have employees who are always connected to their work. It doesn’t imply that the employees will be working 24 hours; it merely suggests that they can respond to a high-priority task sooner.

The Challenges of BYOD Security

There’s no doubt that the security of BYOD can be immensely challenging for organizations. For the BYOD system to work correctly, enterprises need to enforce a strict policy for the use of personal devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops for official purposes.

1. Controlling organization’s security without having control over physical devices

Securing the data of an asset is possible with the use of different solutions, but finding a solution that can secure your company’s data while not having control over the device seems difficult.

2. Maintaining employee privacy

In case a company somehow finds a solution to keep their sensitive data protected; still, they will be facing an issue to segregate corporate data from employee’s private data. They need a solution that allows them to keep both the data separated from each other.

3. Getting employees to follow the set policy

The employees of the organization should be in sync with the defined BYOD policy. They should be familiar with the consequences of their online activities and how to be compliant with BYOD strategies.

Implementation of BYOD

The successful implementation of BYOD strategies starts with comprehensive business analysis and finding the right BYOD solution for your business.

1. Understand business analysis and its requirements

To secure an organization from the ill-effects of the BYOD system, carry out detailed business analysis, covering the applications and operating systems that your employees are using. Integrate those applications into the business application. Mostly, organizations choose cloud-based services as cloud providers that offer the flexibility of separating corporate work from personal activities. Employees will be able to access personal as well as work-related applications security on the same device.

The organization also needs to document its security-related concerns, through which the dedicated team would be able to understand the business requirements to implement the BYOD policy.

2. Finding a BYOD solution

The BYOD requirements will help the organization to determine a solution. The companies can use mobile device management (MDM), or containerization, or whitelisting, or any other available option by considering their requirements.

3. Create a BYOD policy for the organization and its employees

It will get easier for an organization to come up with a sound BYOD policy after determining the right BYOD solution. Consider the listed issues while building the policy –

  • Employee’s device-related practices
  • Technical support to maintain BYOD security
  • BYOD management
  • Employee reimbursement policy
  • Clarity regarding relevant policies – multimedia policy, unauthorized user policy, device revocation/elimination policy, and many others.

BYOD has its perks and challenges. Organizations have full authority over choosing the best system for their business and employees. For those who decide to switch to the BYOD system, they can bring in awareness and training campaigns to alert their employees about the risks of BYOD and how to protect sensitive data while following the same system. That’s where Certified Secure Computer User (C|SCU) comes into the picture. The program is the best solution for security and training related problems. It will help employees to conveniently identify phishing scams, fight against data loss and data breach, how to recognize social engineering attacks and more like this. C|SCU covers the security flaws of the BYOD system with the necessary knowledge and skills to safeguard various devices from cyber threats.

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