July 3, 2014
For the last couple of years, there has been a new trend and concept that encouraged employees to bring their own devices to work: BYOD.
This concept has (some) benefits, namely, letting employees having the same device for work and private use and letting them work remotely from anywhere, thus improving their performance and increasing their satisfaction
The concept is surely interesting and offers value to both employees and companies, but security concerns about BYOD should be considered. Ultimately, the whole field of modern enterprise mobility has plenty of security holes that should be taken in consideration, and these are some of them:
1. Lack of encryption
Most devices and networks are not encrypted, so they are subject to manipulation by anyone who understands how the system works.
2. No password protection
Because we want to access our phones fast and easily, we sometimes forget to put in place various security measures such as strong passwords to safeguard confidential files.
3. Designed for personal use
Have you ever taken time to understand how your phone's operating system works? Some operating systems were never engineered for use in business, so they aren't 100% secure.
4. Risk of interception
Mobile traffic or waves travel though the air. This means that any tech-savvy person can come up with a system or gadget that can intercept information at the network, provider, or TCP/IP level.
5. Risk of loss
Have you thought about what happens when you lose your phone? All your data and access privileges land in someone else's hands. The phone can be used to access your company's private database or even send messages to your clients without your consent.
More often than not, security systems tend to check for authorized devices, not authorized people – so if someone nabs your phone, you're out of luck.
6. Cloud access
Nowadays, virtually all companies are storing data in the cloud. As a result, mobile phones are extensively being used to access cloud data such as documents, personal information, emails, and private files. This means that if your device is lost, the finder can use it to gain easy access to your company's cloud and download or delete files.
Smartphones nowadays are much more computerized than past models. As a result, cyber criminals can hack and process data from an unsecured network or cloud. Also, there are thousands of worms, viruses, and forms of malware that target smartphones.
8. Multiple access points
In a bid to improve enterprise mobility, we are forced to connect various mobile devices on multiple access points. Some of them are secure, others are not.
9. Hackers (the bad kind)
Most people use mobile phones to access the Internet. This means that they are always on and connected to the Internet either through phone companies or the office wifi network. This two-way communication can allow hackers to get in and initiate various commands without arousing any attention. Additionally, Bluetooth increases your exposure to cyber crime, especially if it’s always on.
How to protect yourself
To protect your business from these security threats, you need to first understand your cell phone's vulnerabilities. Then, put in place control or assessment procedures.
Pay maximum attention to the privacy of your company and its clients. Also, carefully consider the impact of a certain policy on employees who heavily rely on personal smartphones. Bottom line, you should choose a monitoring solution that is convenient for everyone involved.
You need to not only review the phones and operating systems your employees are using, but also the technologies you can use to boost security. The assessment should carefully look at your business's current state of security, set goals and objectives, and develop a strategy for achieving them.
While implementing the new policies, you need to continuously monitor progress. This will help you understand which strategies work and which ones don’t.
There is no guarantee that all your employees will accept the new policies or changes. So it's important to comprehensively discuss these issues and explain the benefits before implementing them.
Maintaining a high standard of security at your business will cushion you from losses and promote growth. Do it wisely!
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