Every year in the first quarter, there are a lot of reports and stories published that discuss previous and upcoming year trends. In both general IT and ERP reports I have read, mobility has taken off and will continue to be a rising trend. One of the most popular trends in mobile technology is BYOD (bring your own device). Years ago, BYOD would have been frowned upon at many organizations. I used to work for a company many years ago that did not let you use your personal cellphone during working hours. Today, many organizations have embraced the use of personal cell phones and other devices during the work day. Organizations have started relying on the fact that each and every employee can be reached regardless of their location, at any time they are needed. Gone are the days of stationary computers and phones. But is BYOD a security risk? There are a few security risks that your organization needs to consider and protect against before openly embracing BYOD in your business.
- Lost devices. What happens when a device your employee uses goes missing? When devices with sensitive business information go missing, there is a chance that it could end up falling into the wrong hands. Your employee may not use a pin or passcode to unlock their device, so anyone can gain unauthorized access to valuable company information that may be stored or accessed on the device. Your organization needs to understand what information each employee is able to access on their device and have a plan to erase or lock up the information in case of a lost or stolen device.
- Data leakage. Personal devices are not part of your business’s IT infrastructure, which means that these devices are not protected by your company’s firewall and systems. When an employee is using a personal device, they could unknowingly open your business up to data and important information being leaked. Anytime company information is accessed without an encrypted server, your organization is open for security risks to hit. It is important to understand when and where employees are accessing information. Can you take any steps to ensure their main working locations are secure?
- Hacking. Many, many people and organizations don’t think about hackers because they don’t think anything they have is worth hacking. Hackers consider what they do an art, and they typically hack for fun or to learn things to help them accomplish a much bigger task. Connecting to open Wifi spots and wireless points in public places makes your company more susceptible to hackers and 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 puruse web activity and gain access to your company’s accounts. You may not realize something you opened once on your phone is still stored there. Maybe its a pay stub with banking information for both your employee and your organization.
- Malware. Implementing a BYOD strategy allows your employees the freedom to choose whatever device they want, so the process of keeping track of vulnerabilities and updates is considerably harder. Your IT department needs to prepare for an array of potential malware attacks on different devices because using personal devices means your employees can access whatever sites or download items that your business would normally restrict for safety reasons.
This may seem like a lot of risks and you may be asking yourself if it is worth it? BYOD can help your business grow, it can help give your customers and employees faster response times, and can keep all your employees connected in this ever changing and growing world. The way of the future is remote office and telecommuting, so the reality is that choosing to not embrace BYOD and mobility in your workplace can be detrimental to your company and its growth. It is important that with the adoption of a BYOD strategy, that you also adopt a plan to educate your employees and your company about the risks involved in order to try and prevent problems from arising down the road. If you are interested in increasing your mobility strategy and need help making sure your business is protected from the potential risks that involves, call 2W Tech today. We specialize in Infrastructure solutions and can help make sure you and your organization have a proper IT strategy in place to do so.