In recent years, BYOD programs have become the norm for many businesses. It’s typically far cheaper for companies to have employees use their own devices, and many employees don’t like having multiple devices of the same type—one for personal use and one for work.
The main drawback to allowing or encouraging employees to use their own devices for work purposes is the risk it can present. Here are some of the cybersecurity risks that come with BYOD policies and how IT professionals can help address these risks.
1. Unsecured wi-fi.
Unsecured wi-fi, which can be used in many public places and some home networks as well, may allow third parties to gain access to company information on personal devices. This can be a risk even without BYOD policies. Personnel must be trained not to access company information when using unsecured wi-fi to protect sensitive information.
2. Android vulnerabilities.
Apple iPhones encrypt the information stored on the phones, but Android phones do not, which presents a security risk if the information is confidential. Most smartphones on the market are Android phones, so precautions must be taken to keep the unencrypted information—messages, emails, and downloads—from being accessed by someone who could use it against the business.
3. When employees leave.
Company-owned devices will be returned to the company when an employee moves on from the company, but BYOD devices will not be returned to the company, which means that former employees might retain access to confidential information unless the company takes steps to recover or secure it.
4. Lost or stolen devices.
If devices fall into the wrong hands, there’s no telling where sensitive or confidential company information could end up. Company phones could be disabled by the company if they were lost, but with a personal device, that action would be up to the owner’s discretion.
5. Jailbroken phones.
When individuals jailbreak their phones, which make them able to be used with different cell phone providers, it can lead to compromised integrity that can endanger information on the phone and make it more vulnerable.
6. Non-compliance issues.
Some businesses have strict privacy issues, and using personal devices can lead to violations of privacy regulations. This is particularly true in legal and healthcare fields but can apply in almost any company. Safeguards must be put in place to prevent privacy from being violated if BYOD policies are going to be used.
There are tools and programs available to safeguard company information, and IT professionals can help companies figure out what kind of programs to use and how to implement them. IT professionals can also train company personnel in how to use these tools and how to avoid compromising company data when using personal devices for work.
PC AGE offers courses in cybersecurity to teach IT professionals how to keep information secure on any device. Contact us to learn more about cybersecurity and other courses that can prepare you for an IT career.
Rameez Khizer, IT Marketing