6 Common Pitfalls to Avoid in BYOD Security

by | Aug 16, 2021

BYOD is hardly a new concept. According to a 2020 report by ResearchAndMarkets, even before the pandemic, 95% of organizations already allowed the use of personal devices for work in some form. 87% of businesses are, in fact, dependent on their employees being able to access business apps from their devices. Needless to say, this dependence has only increased as remote work has taken precedence over the last year and is likely to stay for some time. Mordor Intelligence indicates that 85% of organizations implemented BYOD policies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tremendous increase in the use of personal gadgets for work has spurred the growth of Enterprise Mobility Management solutions. By 2025, the market is expected to reach a cumulative value of $11.96 billion.While the benefits of BYOD remain undeniable for both employees and organizations, companies remain concerned about data security. A 2020 report by Help Net Security indicates that 57% are concerned about users downloading unsafe apps or viewing unsafe content and 63% of organizations worry about data leakage as mobile devices can serve as attack vectors. Effective mitigation of risks associated with BYOD really lies with intelligent and data-backed planning for BYOD policies. Mistakes with BYOD policies can cause significant disruptions in productivity, security of sensitive data and employee satisfaction.The critical thing that enterprises me to realize with framing BYOD policies is that it is not once and done. To be effective, BYOD policies need to evolve with changes in the organization’s context as well as evolving threats. Even if you make mistakes, you need to implement course correction at the earliest opportunity. Especially with mobile deployments, organizations may need the help of a reliable partner who knows the risks and how best to avoid them. You could also think of integrating an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution to better manage BYOD. IT Security Vancouver has extensive resources on enterprise mobility management for businesses in Vancouver.While BYOD can excite employees enough to immediately start using their own devices for work purposes, the devices need to be vetted and configured for official use. This is primarily because without the right configurations and security protocols in place, BYOD equipment can be a huge security liability. The device needs to have the right operating system with updated software and patches, needs to be compatible with company software and needs to be checked for any hidden malware. It also needs to have official applications/ enterprise mobility management (EMM) agents (if applicable) in place.While a company really has no control over the choice of applications on a user’s personal device, they can be a major security concern. Third-party applications have the potential to contain malicious data or even malware that can, in turn, end up having access to enterprise data. Effective BYOD policies must incorporate a thorough security sweep of all devices registered for BYOD.

There are also additional complexities caused by the potential of these applications to hamper employee productivity. Your policies may need to indicate proper device usage during business hours. For guidance on crafting, implementing and revising effective BYOD policies, please refer to Managed IT Services Vancouver.The best BYOD policies are cognizant of the fact that company data is only as secure as the best practices embraced by the most technically challenged person in your workforce. While employees may be enthusiastic about BYOD, that does not mean that they would be immediately roped into following data security best practices. However, they would be much more likely to follow the rules if they are explained clearly, given reasons why they exist and the repercussions of negligence made clear. You may need to conduct extensive training for employees until they become champions of data safety practices by themselves.It seems fairly common sense that companies will need to erase all enterprise data from BYOD devices when an employee leaves the organization. While the individual definitely owns the device, all the enterprise data on it belongs to the company. Once the individual leaves the premises, the company loses the right to manage the device which means that all residual enterprise data can be accessed by anyone using the device. This makes it critical for your BYOD policy to make a complete wipe down mandatory during the exit procedure. You can choose to do this manually or automatically, through an EMM software.Many companies develop a sort of myopic vision when it comes to BYOD policies by becoming over-focused on devices. While device management is a critical part of mobile device management (MDM), effective BYOD policy should focus more on safe device usage rather than device management by itself. BYOD policies should, of course, enable free use of personal data and applications on employee owned devices, it should also be able to effectively control user access and permissions for storage of business data and applications.Many companies make use of self-authenticated, encrypted business applications that can be configured, monitored and even remotely removed along with all relevant data without the slightest impact on personal use. Managed IT Services Vancouver can I offer you a range of solutions that enable you to effectively use administrator controls for employee devices without affecting the device’s performance for personal use.Firmware over-the-air (FOTA) version updates are known to cause issues with many mission critical business applications. This is not immediately apparent to many IT managers until the updates start causing compatibility issues and such. Skipping the updates is not an option as they may contain critical security patches. Leading enterprise management tools offer out of the box ability to test, schedule and postpone firmware updates as IT managers deem necessary.

About the Author

Andrew Dalman

Andrew Dalman, President of ActiveCo has a wealth of industry knowledge and experience, with an outstanding leadership capacity. Andrew has led the execution of multiple projects in ActiveCo with a great track record of success. Andrew believes understanding the business operations of customers is key to successfully incorporating the right technology for the business. When Andrew is not busy leading ActiveCo, he enjoys rock climbing and spending time with his family.

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