BYOD Security and Privacy Considerations: The Basics

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is much easier than investing in a state-of-the-art phone for every worker. Here’s how to stay safe if your company makes the switch…

The concept of “Bring Your Own Device” isn’t as new as it seems. It’s actually been around for nearly 15 years according to some estimates. Which begs the question, why are we so focused on things like BYOD security challenges today?

The simple answer is that we have better mobile technology today than we’ve ever had before. Take a look at your iPhone or Android, and you’ll see what we mean. In an environment where countless employees rely on collaboration tools, and video chat to stay connected, BYOD is much easier than investing in a state-of-the-art phone for every worker.

Let’s just take a minute to look at the stats:

Unlocking the Benefits of BYOD

When they’re executed correctly, BYOD policies can deliver exceptional benefits. For instance, according to one study by Frost & Sullivan, BYOD devices increase productivity by 34% and save employees up to 58 minutes a day. As we all know – every minute counts.

Another report by Sapho says that BYOD also supports better work/life balance by giving people access to the tools they feel most comfortable with.

The only problem is that BYOD security and privacy considerations can be pretty complicated – particularly if you’re new to the space. Allowing staff to carry and use their own personal devices for work comes with a variety of risks that may compromise company data.

So, what exactly are the BYOD security challenges that you need to be aware of?

Understanding the BYOD Security Risks in 2019

When people have the freedom to access their preferred devices at work, there are additional concerns that IT teams need to consider. For instance, everyone’s not necessarily working through the same tools or networks. As such, you’ll need more control over your users through things like MDM policies. Here at Nice Network, we offer mobile device management solutions to help our clients secure, monitor and support any device connected to the business environment.

Other issues that teams need to be aware of include:

  • Theft or loss of device: Personal devices go with your employee wherever they go. They can travel around the city, overseas, and more. That means there’s a higher risk of belongings being stolen, and the data on those devices being compromised. You’ll need a strategy in place (like an MDM solution) to remotely wipe personal devices.
  • Communication over unsecured devices: People don’t always keep their personal devices as secure as they should. How many friends do you have that don’t even use a screen lock on their smartphone? If one of your employees fails to look after their device properly, anyone could tap into your business secrets. In other words, you’re going to need a strong security policy in place to keep your users on the same page.
  • Data loss: What if your employee’s smartphone doesn’t get stolen, but it ends up lost or damaged? What happens to the work that was on that phone? A backup plan is a critical component of a good BYOD policy. It will ensure that your staff members can automatically sync crucial information to the cloud, and keep data protected – no matter what happens to their phones.
  • Man in the middle attacks: One common issue of BYOD policies, is that they allow your employees to take their phone and their work tools with them wherever they go. While this might not seem like a bad thing at first, it becomes a problem when you consider the threat of man in the middle attacks. Public Wi-Fi spots might be excellent for people who want to get work done on the go. However, they can also be popular hunting grounds for malicious criminals. You’ll need to make sure that you have a way to keep your information safe and encrypted on all devices.
  • Malware: How diligent are your employees when it comes to protecting their files against malware? They might have security systems downloaded on their computers, but what about their smartphone? A personal device infested with malware can result in downtime, data loss, ransomware and more!

Despite the BYOD security challenges that today’s businesses face, there’s still plenty of reasons to bring personal devices into your workforce. The good news is that you can unlock the benefits, without putting your company at risk. With the help of Nice Network, you can implement a strategy that addresses all of the necessary BYOD security and privacy considerations and keeps your network safe. Come and find out how we can put the safety back into BYOD.