BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) and BYOA (Bring-Your-Own-App) are here to stay. How ready is your business to safely embrace the trend?
As BYOD/BYOA practices change and expand your IT canvas, they expose your network and data to myriad new cybersecurity risks. But in a mobile world, you can’t deny the benefits of letting employees use familiar devices and apps to work how, when and where they want. To reap the rewards, you have to face the risks. Here’s a look at what they are, and steps you can take to counter them.
BYOD/BYOA Pros & Cons
There’s no questioning the convenience to employees of using their own smartphones, tablets and other devices to check work email, transfer files and browse corporate websites. It’s a lot simpler than carrying around and switching between personal and company-provided devices. It’s more empowering, too. Because privately-owned devices tend to be more advanced and loaded with higher-performing apps than those supplied by employers that have to adhere to tighter budget constraints.
All in all, giving employees the flexibility to use their personal devices for work is good for efficiency, agility and performance. It makes them more available—both to customers and collaborators—improving company-wide productivity and results. That’s good business, considering the savings to your company from reduced spending on capital equipment, software and the support costs that go along with it.
Nonetheless, devices and apps that are more accessible and intertwined are also more vulnerable to the risks of misuse, failure, loss, theft and attack. This is especially true in BYOD/BYOA environments when the devices and apps used by employees do not contain the proper security controls. The growth of self-service IT, where employees install and share third-party apps on their personal devices without IT’s knowledge, compounds the risk. These devices and the apps on them are a growing target for the authors of spyware and malware that use them as gateways to valuable, personable and business data stored on company networks.
5 BYOD/ BYOA Best Practices
You can’t control or protect activities, devices and apps you don’t know about. Here are 5 best practices to put you in the driver’s seat, and create an environment that’s secure enough to reap the rewards of BYOD and BYOA.
Train employees on BYOD and BYOA risks—Including what to look out for, how to avoid making mistakes, and report suspicious activities or malfunctions and errors.
Enact server-side authentication and security controls that restrict data access to only authorized employees that need the documents and/or files to do their work.
Avoid unnecessary mobile data storage by using live data whenever possible—By using live data applications to feed resources on demand to mobile devices and other platforms, you avoid the risk of exposing information stored directly on a device that can potentially be lost or stolen.
Improve IT availability—Make it less necessary for employees to take issues into their own hands and practice self-service IT. Seek employees’ input on productivity-enhancing apps and features, and invest in ways to be responsive to their needs.
Develop, enforce and clearly communicate policies to govern the use of employee-owned devices and apps for work purposes, and impose penalties for non-compliance. Work with an information network security provider that understands the security controls available to protect personal devices and third party apps. They can advise you on policies and strategies to offer the right balance of protection and flexibility.
At Citon, we have experienced system integrators that work with the best-in-class technologies to deliver comprehensive network security solutions for modern enterprise architectures that support BYOD and BYOA. Learn more about the solutions to help solve your business and security concerns.