How to Prevent BYOD Security Breaches at Your Company

Nowadays, businesses allow their employees to proceed with work remotely or even offer them the opportunity to bring their own device at the office. This is called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and it has become a quite frequent phenomenon in workplaces. There are significant benefits to such a tactic, including the option of getting to work remotely (even when you are at home), being extremely familiar with the device you use as an employer and of course reducing the cost of equipment at the office. As you can imagine, businesses are always in search of the most fruitful options that enable them to maximize the productivity and thus the product, without compromising anything in return.

However, such methods do not come without a prize to pay. It has been reported by several studies that mobile devices can pose active risks when it comes to corporate security. In an environment when such mobile devices enjoy the lion share of the overall devices used for business everywhere, one can easily assume that it is imperative to come up with solid safety precautions that will keep all the threats away from business in general.

According to Mark Hughes, who is President of BT Security, there is huge need for such a change in the business behavior of every single one involved in BYOD security: “Today’s threat landscape shifts very quickly so it is important for organizations to start with security in mind, rather than add it as an afterthought. This will ensure that security processes develop with them, and not after them. This makes the task of being security-led much more straightforward.”

What is at Risk with BYOD?

Before going ahead with explaining how to prevent BYOD security breaches, it is equally important to realize why such actions are beneficial and in fact why they are essential to the well being of a business. Mobile devices (like phones and tablets, iPads and laptops) do not usually have the strong security software that is required for protecting business data at all times.

This can lead to severe harm in the overall safety of a system employed by the business; for instance, there have been cases when multiple devices and departments full of computers have been affected, simply due to the negligence of a single computer user. In addition, some data is described as sensitive and confidential; therefore, it goes without even saying that such information cannot be leaked. Without the proper encryption and without any serious anti-malware protection, nobody can guarantee that this data is secured and remains out of reach.

Methods towards Preventing BYOD Security Risks

Fortunately enough, there are quite a few different tricks and pieces of advice that will allow you to strengthen your overall business security. This will help you become a lot more protected, even when there is a policy of bringing your own devices (BYOD) at work. The same of course goes for COPE, which is short for corporately owned, personally enabled devices. Now, let’s have a closer look at some of the fundamental instructions you should be well aware of in your effort to better your security at the office:

  • Email Security Policy is a Must: There is nothing more fundamental than securing your email communication at all layers within the company. You can have your pick among some truly helpful options and combine some of them, in order to make the most out of your every email. First of all, you can limit the size of the attachments that you send or receive; spam should not be tolerated under any circumstances and there can be additional encryption layers that help business communication remain intact.
  • Set a Passcode: This is definitely one of the most important things to consider, in avoidance of BYOD security attacks. In order for somebody to access sensitive data within the company, a solid passcode is of paramount value and can eliminate the danger of unauthorized access. Even if somebody has penetrated the system of a BYOD, a passcode can keep him at bay.
  • Integrated Network Security Policy and Risk Assessment: Before moving any further, a business is entitled to knowing which the weaknesses are in the field of online security. This is why it is true that the first thing that needs to be done is for companies to assess the risks that they deal with and then outline a solid, effective defensive line with the proper network security policy that will enable all the devices to be kept protected. Of course, education is the key to success in this part of the business protection and this is why all the employees ought to dig deeper in the field of online security.
  • Set Criteria for Access Authorization: Not all the employees can be equally authorized to access the infrastructure and systems of a business. This makes total sense and there should be a distinctive authorization level for each and every single employee working for the company. There are departments that should be limited to the use of a printer, while others would have total control over a whole set of processes, tools and software. Identifying the criteria that need to be set for granting authorization for accessing a company is a great aspect in the case of online security.
  • Downloading Apps and Dangers: There really is no complicated notion behind this instruction. As goes with all the devices used by individuals in their personal lives, it is expected that no apps are downloaded by untrustworthy sources. You should check out the permissions for third party apps and you should read in between the lines, prior to allowing anyone to gain access to your device. This is a helpful tip, not only as a BYOD security policy; it is also a heads-up for mobile vulnerabilities that may emerge along the way.
  • Layers Added to Business Protection, Especially for Wireless: You would agree that most devices connect to the Internet using wireless connection and this has been known to add extra risk for the devices. This is why additional security layers should be put into effect, with respect to the quality and type of connection used by BYOD at the office. Authentication to the domain controller is certainly moving towards the direction of doing just that, adding an extra protection layer to the Wireless wi-fi networks.
  • Safe Browsing Education: Since the user can either make or break the security of a business, education and awareness on security at the office are the alpha and the omega. All the employees must be made truly aware of the risks and master safe browsing techniques. Only in this way can we rest assured of the final outcome that determines if a company is kept safe or not.
  • Offsite Backup System: Even if disaster strikes, you need to be prepared and keep a backup plan in your pocket. In the case of businesses that suffer from critical loss of data (either due to the security breaches caused by BYOD or by any other cause), it is a true blessing to have an off-site backup system safeguarding everything that you have struggled for. So, besides knowing how to prevent security breaches, you need to know how to minimize their impact on your business in the long run. Apparently, off-site typically has to do with cloud computing solutions and there needs to be ongoing control over the results.
  • Follow the Rules, Period: Everything you have decided to engage in towards protecting your business should be followed by fully compliant employees. There is no room for negligence or for underestimating the true impact of a security breach. So, it is important that all the employees follow the guidelines of online security thoroughly and without any hesitation.
  • Evaluation of Risks for a System: Even if you have invested in software that is proven to be risky and can even jeopardize the health and prosperity of your business as a whole, it is true that you need to act accordingly and change your course. There is no way of knowing prior to testing something out and this is why evaluation of the risk is crucial for the safety and protection of your business.

Businesses progress and come up with the most suitable solutions, which not only better their quality of work but which also act in the best interest of their monetary profit. However, nothing should be done without the proper safety net that keeps the work flowing and jeopardizes nothing in return.

BYOD is expected to continue on its growth, due to the multiple benefits that such a method offers. If you wish to be kept competitive and thrive in your field of expertise, it is vital that you comply with the guidelines that we have outlined above towards preventing and even eliminating BYOD security risks.

Top/Featured Image: By Jeremy Keith (Flickr: Device pile) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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How to Prevent BYOD Security Breaches at Your Company

by Stella Strouvali time to read: 6 min
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