Bring Your Own Disaster

According to a recent survey, as many as 85 percent of organizations are embracing bring your own device (BYOD) in the workplace. But BYOD could mean “bring your own disaster” to some companies over the lack of control over employee personal devices.

Potential Pitfalls of BYOD Devices

There are several reasons why the use of BYOD devices can cause issues for companies. Here are five of them:

  • Lack of Control: While the use of BYOD devices in the workplace can reduce costs for the company, it also leads to a lack of control over how employees manage company communications and data. For many companies, the costs associated with the lack of control can ultimately outweigh the savings gains associated with not buying mobile devices.

  • Reduced Performance: Companies are at the whim of when their employees choose to update their devices and some employees may be slow to do so, leading to potential reduced performance for work tasks associated with the mobile devices. For example, many mobile device users are still on 3G devices, even though wireless carriers are shutting down their 3G networks as soon as next month.

  • Security Risks: As we discussed in our “October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and You Need to be Aware of the Threats to Your Mobile Device” post, more than two-thirds of website visits globally in 2020 came from mobile devices. Combine that with the fact that 85 percent of mobile apps have little to no protection and you have a recipe for malware disaster on BYOD devices, where the ability to control the apps downloaded by employees is reduced. Android devices are particularly vulnerable. This can put company data at risk, especially when devices are lost or stolen.
  • IT Support Burden: The use of a wide variety of BYOD devices by employees can increase the support burden on IT staff that has to become familiar with a wider range of devices, including how to apply software updates and security patches.

  • More Difficult to Track Employee Bad Acts: Another downside of BYOD devices is that it can be more difficult to track employees that are stealing company data or intellectual property.

Keeping BYOD Devices From Becoming a Disaster

There are ways to manage the effectiveness of BYOD devices while managing the risks associated with them. Here are three ways companies can keep the use of BYOD devices from becoming a disaster:

  • Implement a Formal BYOD Policy: According to a recent survey, only 39% of companies have a formal BYOD policy. Having a strong BYOD policy in place can establish the rights for a company to manage employee BYOD devices, helping to ensure a required level of functionality and security and giving the company the right to access a device for employees suspected of wrongdoing.

  • Periodically Conduct Mobile Device Assessments: As we discussed in our post, “If Your Mobile Device Was Hacked on January 1st, You May Be Just Finding Out About It Now”, the average time to detect and contain a data breach is 280 days! Mobile devices have become perhaps the most common source of those data breaches and your employees may have already been hacked and not yet realize it. Assessing employee mobile devices periodically can shorten the time to identify devices that have been compromised, reducing potential damage resulting from a data breach.
  • Conduct Mobile Device Forensics to Identify Fraud: When employee bad acts are suspected, those employees will invariably try to cover their tracks by deleting information on their mobile devices. A forensics examination can uncover those efforts, which is why it was ordered twice in this case “Mobile Device Forensic Discovery: Here’s a Case That Illustrates the Importance”.

Conclusion

The use of BYOD devices can be a disaster for companies, especially if that usage isn’t properly managed. There are ways to manage the effectiveness of BYOD devices while also keeping the risks associated with use of them managed. You can take the “disaster” out of your employees’ use of BYOD devices! For more information on the ins and outs of security with BYOD processes, click here.

Next time, we will discuss the parameters associated with an effective BYOD policy.

For more information about Forensic Discovery’s Mobile Compromise Assessment services, click here.

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