Protection in the Age of BYODs in the Workplace
Increased BYOD in the workplace comes with it’s own security risks.
Allowing employees to access the company’s network and documents from their personal mobile devices makes your entire IT infrastructure vulnerable to malware and other threats. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and the latest and greatest convertible ultrabooks are crave-worthy gadgets that your employees are already buying and turning into the focal point of their digital lives. Two facts of the 21st century now make these devices an issue for business IT departments:
- The operating systems and form factors of consumer technology are rapidly changing
- The lines between “on the clock” and “off the clock” have been irrevocably blurred
Just as your employees don’t have a rigid “work life” and “home life,” they don’t want a company-issued device on top of the one they already own. Nobody wants to be that person with two smartphones stuffed in his or her pocket. According to a recent survey published by Intel, “82 percent of U.S. companies will allow some or all workers to use employee-owned devices in 2013.” Gartner Research goes further, predicting that, “by 2018, 70% of mobile users will conduct all their work on personal smart devices.” By officially allowing employees to use their own devices for work, IT departments have visibility and the ability to properly secure the devices that will carry company data.
Consumer devices now have the firmware and native support to satisfy network requirements. At most companies, senior management is now open to the idea of employees using their own devices to get work done. From the cube to the C-suite, tablets have become status symbols in the workplace. Productivity and employee satisfaction are also benefits of BYOD. In fact, according to Intel research, 74 percent of IT leaders believe “BYOD can help our employees be more productive” and 58 percent of those surveyed cite employee satisfaction as a prime benefit of BYOD.
So by now, employee-owned devices in the workplace might seem like a great idea. As with all technology trends, however, there are very real security concerns that need to be addressed before any BYOD program can be successful.
Security problems associated with BYOD include:
- Malware infecting the network when the employee brings an infected device to work
- A lost or stolen device disappearing, along with stored company data
- Employees unknowingly installing rogue applications or unlicensed software, which can violate compliance laws or enterprise licensing agreements and compromise your network
- Using unsecured wireless connections to send and receive company data
According to The Ponemon Institute, “51 percent of the organizations surveyed experienced data loss resulting from employee use of insecure mobile devices.” To add some more detail, the same Ponemon Institute study reports: “58 percent of organizations surveyed have experienced an increase in malware infections as a result of personally-owned mobile devices used in the workplace. Fifty-six percent say that more confidential data has been lost as a result of these devices.” If not properly managed, employee-owned devices can be a security liability and create a needless layer of management complexity in the already over-worked IT department. If managed effectively, the benefits of BYOD outweigh the pitfalls.
Orange County Computer understands and can help you determine who should be allowed to have access both inside and out of the office. We work with companies to establish the security and intrusion prevention measures necessary to enable greater productivity yet protect valuable company data at the same time. Contact our Tech Repair Center at (949) 699-6619 or visit our website for more information.