Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs aren’t a new development, but they have grown in recent years due to the benefits they deliver to both employer and employee. For many companies that didn’t have policies in place around remote work, BYOD was the only approach that could keep them operational during national lockdowns.
Beyond the basic survival for companies at the start of the pandemic in 2020, digital transformation is aided by the implementation of a BYOD program. But it can also raise critical security issues, which can threaten networks and data in an era featuring increasing cyber threats.
Companies utilize BYOD for their employees but many often extend to business partners like contractors and suppliers, and some even extend BYOD to customers.
For employee-based programs, productivity is a big driver, but it also tends to lead to employee satisfaction, since employees appreciate using the device of their choice for work.
BYOD programs also got a big boost in popularity because of the increased interest in remote and hybrid work environments. Companies need employees to be able to work from anywhere, and employees don’t want to juggle both personal and professional versions of devices, from smartphones to laptops and tablets.
The big hurdle for any company is security, because traditionally IT has been able to control the network environment. Before cloud-based digital transformation and programs like BYOD, security teams more easily controlled network access and data location. BYOD erases the perimeter, making perimeter-based security irrelevant.
Today, along with the complications that BYOD introduces with the lack of control over apps, data, and access, IT security teams have less control. Data is exchanged in massive volumes and IT often doesn’t even own the infrastructure. But when it comes to BYOD, there are three steps security teams can take to reduce risk:
Improve Visibility, Preserve Privacy: One concern for security teams is the lack of data visibility on employee devices. Previously, teams have deployed agent-based security tools for company-owned devices, generally in the form of mobile device management solutions. Many employees would consider this to be an invasion of privacy when used within a BYOD program. It can also negatively affect functionality and performance of the device.
As an alternative, companies can use a cloud-based, agentless security solution that doesn’t require installation but still allows security teams the information they need to monitor and track sensitive data as needed. These solutions only monitor company data, so employees are able to keep their own activity and data private.
Choose Application Whitelisting: Blacklisting applications can become an all-consuming approach, but whitelisting can offer improved security against malware without requiring a full-time person assigned to monitor every new application. Whitelisting gives your security team the ability to focus on apps that should be trusted in your BYOD setting, blocking all other apps by default.
Prioritize Training: One of the easiest ways to improve security as you pursue digital transformation is through employee training. Equipping employees to recognize phishing emails and other tactics used by malicious actors is one of your best tools for a successful and secure BYOD program.
If you’ve been considering a BYOD program, or you are looking for ways to improve security on your existing BYOD practices, contact us at ITBroker.com. We can help you keep your digital transformation plans moving forward without increasing your security risk.