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Overcoming the challenges of BYOD security

By Max Burkhalter
March 22, 2021

While Bring your Own Device (BYOD) was originally aimed at cutting costs for employee work phones by having them utilize their own, familiar devices for work purposes, issues with this plan soon appeared in the form of heightened security risks.

When employees use their own phones, regulating what they can and cannot do, download onto, or connect to becomes problematic. Now, with employees working from home in ever-increasing droves, the sheer number of work-use devices overlapping with personal use has skyrocketed, and with this increase comes an even bigger security problem.

Understanding employee habits
How can your company effectively work toward consistently identifying BYOD risk and developing effective BYOD policies, to enable leveraging the benefits of BYOD without falling prey to the hazards? It's possible to capitalize on the benefits of BYOD without adding significant risk. The first step is differentiating between employee device use AT work, and employee device use FOR work.

An employee bringing their device to work or having it with them during work hours when working remotely isn't a serious security risk, assuming the device is not connecting to secure company networks or being used to access sensitive information. In contrast, an employee who is asked or permitted to utilize a personal device to conduct work will need to be under the security policy of your company.

Handling BYOD security
According to TechJury, 67% of U.S. employees use their own devices for work purposes. Security Boulevard notes that 87% of businesses are dependent on their employee's ability to access mobile business apps from their smartphone.

The easiest way for companies to make a start with cybersecurity when it comes to BYOD is to request employees allow their phones to be partitioned, with access to the company network only possible from a section of the phone's operating system that is siloed from the rest. This helps prevent attacks on the company coming through an employee's privately owned device.

The next step is to institute training for employees regarding securing their devices, and instruction on what to do if they believe their phone has been lost, stolen, hacked, or otherwise compromised. Secure passphrases should be discussed, and a rotating schedule established for resetting passphrases. Two-step authentication can also help safeguard the phones, as well as the ability to remote-wipe them in case of loss or theft.

Limit what can be done from a mobile device on your network, and provide for zero-trust. This means the phone must be properly provisioned and configured and known by the network before access is granted. Authentication must be performed perfectly every time or the phone will be locked out of the network.

By understanding that BYOD security requires a multi-faceted approach, you can address potential risks while minimizing intrusions on employee privacy. Implement context-aware security solutions that focus narrowly on control over user access, applications, encryption, and network connectivity, without impacting device usability. This can help ensure greater employee productivity and satisfaction while mitigating BYOB security risks.

Perle can help you create a robust and secure setting that will be able to control access from mobile devices. Read our customer stories to find out more.


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