Mobile devices are an integral part of workflows across nearly every industry, whether at the office, on the worksite, or for remote work. And for employee-owned devices, bring your own devices (BYOD) risks run rampant.
To facilitate mobile and remote working, many businesses choose BYOD as a solution. This strategy requires employees to bring their own devices to access organizational apps, systems, networks, and data.
BYOD can provide many benefits for businesses, such as cost savings Research from Cisco estimates that businesses can save $350 per year per mobile user by relying on BYOD.
However, there are various BYOD risks as well. BYOD security is a major area of concern, as businesses lack full control over employee-owned devices that access company networks.
Additionally, there are many BYOD security risks that companies must address to ensure security and privacy.
In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most significant risks of BYOD and what businesses can do to protect themselves.
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4 Security Risks of BYOD and How to Mitigate Them
1. Data Breaches
One of the primary problems with BYOD is that it creates the potential for data breaches. Help Net Security reports that data leakage is the primary concern for 63% of companies considering BYOD, and for a good reason.
SMBs and organizations of all kinds handle sensitive data, whether concerning employees, customers, vendors, or other parties. An unauthorized release of company data could lead to legal and financial consequences related to the affected parties.
Many industries, such as healthcare, face a wide range of regulatory fines, penalties, legal issues, and reputational damage for data breaches.
Allowing access to corporate data and networks through employee-owned devices introduces significant risk.
For example, there is a risk of device theft or access by an unauthorized party. This could result in unauthorized corporate network access or the breach of any unencrypted data on the device itself.
Businesses can implement a variety of solutions to mitigate this risk. Securing data and applications within a cloud environment and maintaining the proper identity and authentication management can reduce the impact of compromised devices.
The ability to remotely wipe devices is the ideal solution, but employees are likely unwilling to agree to this measure with their own BYOD device.
2. Unsecured Networks
Further bring your own device to work security issues arise from connections to unsecured networks.
A corporate device used only for work purposes can have a configuration that only connects to secure, known networks. However, these security measures aren’t viable with BYOD.
Instead, employees will regularly connect their devices to home networks and even public wi-fi. This introduces a variety of security risks that could allow third parties to access sensitive information. Man-in-the-middle attacks can target these public connections and intercept data.
Avoiding these types of public networks is the best option, but this can be difficult to implement in a BYOD arrangement.
Ensuring that all communications and data across corporate networks use encryption provides substantial protection against man-in-the-middle attacks and data interception by third parties.
3. Malware and Ransomware
The security risks of BYOD include an increased chance of encountering malware and ransomware. Within corporate networks, businesses can implement strong protections against threats such as phishing and malicious links in emails disguised as legitimate communications.
When malware and ransomware infect employee mobile devices, there is a risk of them spreading to the corporate network. This represents a major security breach that could see sensitive data compromised or essential systems taken down by ransomware.
Businesses must ensure that they have endpoint protection in place to prevent malicious software from spreading throughout their network. Antivirus, antimalware, and firewall software are all integral components, and cloud solutions will require their own security measures as well.
4. Mobile Device Security Management
Mobile device management (MDM) is an important part of maintaining network and data security when using any mobile device, whether company or employee-owned.
SMBs must have an effective MDM solution in place to maintain security, but implementing such a solution can be a challenge when dealing with BYOD.
One of the most important aspects of MDM is maintaining updates for operating systems, applications, and security features.
New vulnerabilities are always popping up, and the only way to stay ahead of hackers and other malicious third parties is to ensure that every application and system in place is fully up to date.
Update management is relatively straightforward for company-owned devices. However, businesses only have so much control over BYOD devices. To implement an effective solution, businesses must develop an agreement with employees to maintain certain security standards.
Many employees are hesitant to provide any access to their personal devices, so containerization could be an effective solution. This isolates corporate data and applications within the device.
Maintaining robust cybersecurity protection throughout corporate networks is also an essential step to ensure that unsecured devices can’t have a widespread impact.
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How Your Business Can Mitigate BYOD Risks and Issues
While implementing BYOD can provide your business with many benefits, it also introduces risks that can impact your network and data security. You need the right strategy to address those risks, and the IT professionals at powersolution.com can help.
Our team of system administrators and engineers can provide the strategy development and expert advice you need to protect your business from the many security risks of BYOD.
We provide a full range of beneficial cybersecurity services and IT solutions that your business could benefit from, from business data security to on-site and remote support and maintenance.
Keep your sensitive data and company networks protected with a strategy that helps you mitigate BYOD risks and issues. Get started with an IT consultation today.
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