In the 21st century, personal computing is with us wherever we go. This is all thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. These devices allow us to take work home with us. And, with bring your own device (BYOD) strategy, businesses have never been so productive.
With That Said: Many small businesses often allow this practice but there seems to be a general lack of understanding of the risks associated with employees who Bring Your Own Device or "BYOD". What happens when they attach their company email to their personal smartphone or use a free personal DropBox account or a personal laptop.
There is a very fine line between the perceived extra productivity and cost savings of not having to supply computers to employees and the potential detrimental results of a poorly implemented BYOD.
Here are some BYOD security risks you should know before implementing it in your business.
The biggest reason why businesses are weary of implementing a BYOD strategy is because it can potentially leave the company’s system vulnerable to data breaches. Personal devices are not part of your business’s IT infrastructure, which means that these devices are not protected by company firewalls and systems. There is also a chance that an employee will take work with them, where they are not using the same encrypted servers that your company is using, leaving your system vulnerable to inherent security risks.
Another risk your company has to deal with, is the possibility of your employees losing their personal devices. When devices with sensitive business information are lost, there is a chance that this could end up falling into the wrong hands. Additionally, if an employee forgets to use a four digit PIN code to lock their smartphone or tablet, anyone can gain unauthorized access to valuable company data stored on that particular device. Therefore, your company should consider countermeasures for lost devices like completely wiping the device of information as soon as an employee reports a missing or stolen phone.
Personal devices tend to lack adequate data encryption to keep people from snooping. This along with the fact that your employees might not have updated their devices can allow hackers to infiltrate your IT infrastructure.
Connecting to open Wifi spots makes your company more susceptible to hackers. Open wireless points in public places can put device owners at risk because there is a chance that hackers may have created that hotspot to trick people into connecting. Once the device owner has connected, attackers can simply surveil web activity and gain access to your company’s accounts.
Viruses are also a big problem when implementing BYOD strategies into your business. Using personal devices means your employees can access whatever sites or download any mobile apps that your business would normally restrict to protect your system.
Jailbreaking or rooting a device also puts your systems at risk because it removes limitations imposed by the manufacturer to keep the mobile software updated and protected against external threats. It’s best to understand that as your employees have the freedom to choose whatever device they want to work with, the process of keeping track of vulnerabilities and updates is considerably harder. So if you’re thinking about implementing BYOD strategies to your business, prepare your IT department for an array of potential malware attacks on different devices.
So you might be thinking that it would probably be best to just avoid implementing a BYOD strategy in the first place. However, BYOD will help your business grow and adapt to the modern workplace, and should not be dismissed as a legitimate IT solution. It’s just important to educate your company about these risks so that problems won’t occur for your business down the line.
If you need some help implementing IT security solutions for your company, or if you have any concerns regarding IT, give us a call.