BYOD and Security: A Work in Progress

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Dec 10, 2014 05:03 pm PST

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is quickly becoming a business standard, with more and more people looking to use their personal laptops, phones, and tablets at work. However, there’s still a lot of pushback from many employers due to high amount of BYOD security risks.

Those who are skeptical don’t deny the benefits BYOD can offer. In fact, the debate is less about whether or not there are benefits and more about whether the benefits outweigh the dangers. Unfortunately, the vast majority of businesses report facing challenges with BYOD programs. Even worse, IT professionals admit that mobile security incidents accounted for increased expenses in 2014.

That’s not very encouraging; it seems to support the doubts of those resisting BYOD adoption in the workplace. However, businesses need to realise that despite these setbacks, employees will continue to want their personal devices at work. Therefore, IT departments must develop better solutions to improve BYOD security and protect company data. If one thing’s for sure, it’ll be a process, and it’ll take time. Don’t forget, mobile technology is still relatively new and constantly changing. Professionals are still working to find the best solutions to protect the constant flow and wide variety of devices entering the workplace.

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Having said that, businesses still need to be proactive. There’s no excuse to sit around and wait for a revolutionary breakthrough. Instead, businesses will be better suited testing policies and procedures in order to see what works for them. Plus, starting now will help build a framework for future implementations.

Here are a few things businesses can do to get started on their BYOD security:

BYOD Security Training

Unfortunately, negligent and careless employee behaviour accounts for a lot of security issues. It could be anything from accidentally leaking information, to clicking on a phishing link, to injecting malware into the company network from a personal laptop. One way to deal with this is by having recurring training sessions. This will ensure security is top-of-mind and that employees learn the proper practices of protecting information. In addition, this could be a great forum to discuss policies and learn employee sentiment.

Use Strong Passwords

Setting strong passwords should be the biggest no-brainer of all time, but you’d be surprised how many people simply don’t do it. It’s common sense and computer security 101. A strong password is the first line of defence against unwanted intrusions. Make sure your employees are setting good passwords. Provide guidelines on what a good password consists of. Once again, it may seem obvious, but many people are unaware of proper computer security measures and need to be coached in the right direction.

Invest In Security Software

Even today, many computers aren’t protected with antivirus or anti-malware software. Also, many people are unaware of the security apps available for their mobile devices. Encourage employees to install the right security services on all their devices. In addition, make sure your employees are using mobile tracking apps. This will help them locate lost devices or wipe their contents in the event of an emergency.

Watch Your Apps

Criminals are taking advantage of the rising popularity of mobile technology and developing malicious apps. These fake apps are then uploaded to the different mobile app stores and can infect devices when installed. This mobile malware can log, steal, and publish almost everything an employee does on their phone. Employees don’t need to ask permission every time they want to download an app, and employers need to respect their freedom. However, it’s important employees understand the threats out there and are taught how to avoid them.

BYOD security is definitely an important issue. It’s the main barrier to complete BYOD adoption and should thus be taken seriously. However, not allowing employees to bring their own devices to work and enforcing company alternatives instead isn’t the solution to this problem. Companies need to work on finding solutions that grant the freedom employees are looking for while also providing the right protection to company information.

By Rick Delgado | @ricknotdelgado

Rick_DelgadoBio: Rick is blessed to have a successful career and has recently taken a step back to pursue his passion for writing. He loves to write about new technologies and how they can help us and our planet in particular. Rick occasionally writes for several tech companies, including Dell. His articles are always industry-neutral.