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BYOD Security: Complete Guide

by | Feb 23, 2023 | BLOG, CISO, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation process and forced many organizations to operate remotely. In many cases, employees started to use their personal devices to access corporate data and resources.

This practice is known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and provides several advantages for businesses, such as cost reduction, mobility, and productivity. On the other hand, it introduces new vulnerabilities, which require protective measures appropriate to this context.

One thing is undeniable: BYOD is a concept that will be increasingly present in the daily lives of corporations. Therefore, it is essential to prepare for the future, seeking ways to ensure maximum security and flexibility.

In this article, we show you everything you need to know about BYOD and security.
To facilitate your reading, we divided our text into topics. These are:

  • What is BYOD – Bring Your Own Device?
  • Benefits of BYOD
  • Disadvantages of BYOD
  • BYOD Security Measures
  • BYOD Usage Data
  • BYOD NIST: Best Practices According to the Institute
  • BYOD Usage Policies
  • Future Outlook for BYOD
  • History of BYOD
  • About senhasegura
  • Conclusion

Follow our text to the end!

What is BYOD – Bring Your Own Device?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a concept that deals with access to corporate data through the personal devices of an organization’s employees, which provides more mobility and productivity to the company, but also introduces vulnerabilities to digital security.

This practice was widely adopted during the pandemic, when most companies had to adhere to remote work due to restrictive measures such as lockdowns.

However, the use of personal devices connected to corporate environments and corporate devices connected to home networks generated great discussions on how to manage and ensure BYOD security, a subject we will address in the next topics.

Benefits of BYOD

Adopting the BYOD concept provides a number of advantages for organizations and their employees, such as:

Increased Productivity

According to research conducted by Bullock, 42% of professionals who started to work using their own devices had an increase in efficiency and productivity. This is explained by several reasons:

  • People spend a lot of time outside of working hours using their phones, tablets, or laptops. This means they already know how they work, which reduces training costs.
  • Through BYOD, employees are also free to customize their devices and use items necessary for their roles, which are not always provided by the company.
  • Using their own devices is also convenient, as professionals can gather all the data and software they need into one piece of equipment. With this, one can join video conferencing, reply to personal emails, and download music to listen to while working without having to interrupt their tasks to switch devices.
  • Adopting BYOD also avoids wasting time. According to a study by Mordor Intelligence, professionals who adopt this practice save an average of 37 minutes per week in their activities.

This is because they do not have to wait to arrive at the office to schedule meetings and talk to clients, among other tasks.

With time-saving, one can perform other activities, and get the job done faster.

Reduction of Operational Costs

By adhering to the BYOD concept, organizations with 500 or fewer employees achieve savings of 14% in ten years. This is what a study by Samsung Insights points out. Here’s how this is achieved:
BYOD reduces company costs by eliminating the need to acquire, maintain, and update devices.

Internet plans for companies are often expensive and are not always 100% enjoyed by employees. With BYOD, employees can subscribe to data plans and be reimbursed by the organization, according to the data spent.

More Satisfied Employees

BYOD gives professionals greater control over their activities and their time, which increases their engagement and motivation. This happens because, by adopting this practice, they can comfortably complete tasks at home.

By using the same device for work and personal life, they can also switch between professional activities and personal emergencies easily and quickly, whenever necessary and authorized by the company.

Access to Cutting-Edge Technology

Most professionals are concerned with keeping their devices up to date and acquiring cutting-edge technology aimed at their area of expertise whenever new solutions emerge in the market.
With BYOD, the company benefits from the quality of these assets without having to make major investments.

Facilitated Communication

If an employee uses corporate devices, they cannot check emails and messages after office hours. On the other hand, BYOD facilitates communication with colleagues and leaders at any time, which is very useful in emergencies.

Moreover, for employees who need to move around constantly, carrying multiple devices can be a major hassle, being more feasible to use a single endpoint.

Increased Trust Between Employers and Teams

Many companies do not allow employees to use their devices during office hours, making them feel controlled. On the other hand, it is very common for employees to use their applications on the computer, even if it is forbidden.

In this sense, the use of the BYOD concept demonstrates that leadership trusts its team, which can impact their motivation and loyalty. It also allows them to respond to personal emergencies.

However, if you want to ensure your employees do not spend excessive time engaging in non-professional activities, you can use performance monitoring software.

It Reduces the Workload of Support Teams

With the adoption of BYOD, the responsibility for the maintenance of equipment is no longer with the company but with the employees. This alleviates the workload of support teams, as professionals can perform the necessary updates on their own.

In this way, IT teams gain time to dedicate themselves to strategic business activities that directly impact security and productivity.

It Helps Attract Top Talent

Typically, companies invest in fixed devices to save money. With this, they are limited when hiring their talents, since not all trained professionals live close to these companies.

The good news is that with BYOD, you can hire professionals from anywhere in the world, choosing the ideal profile for your business.

In addition, you can keep your employees satisfied with this work model, which guarantees them more freedom.

Disadvantages of BYOD

Despite its numerous advantages, BYOD also presents challenges for companies that intend to adopt it. Check out the main disadvantages below:

Security Problems

By adopting the BYOD concept, a company may lose part of the control over data used by its employees, in addition to increasing the risk of infiltration of malicious files on the device.
The main security threats are:

  • Theft of data due to the use of unsecured networks, which exposes company information to the action of malicious attackers;
  • Malware infiltration, made possible by outdated antivirus or firewalls. If a device is infected with malware, the entire network may be affected, generating data loss and shutdown of the company’s operations;
  • Misuse of sensitive information by former employees willing to sabotage the organization through its trade secrets;
  • Loss or theft of employee devices, which allow third parties to gain access to archived data;
  • Devices with outdated operating systems and software, which give rise to the action of malicious attackers;
  • Unlocked devices, without the restrictions imposed by manufacturers and security teams, which increase the vulnerabilities caused by the installation of malicious software.

Software Issues

You may encounter difficulties in choosing software that is compatible with your company’s operating system and employees’ devices. To resolve this issue, you may need the support of a technical support team.

BYOD Security Measures

Most companies are adopting the BYOD concept, with employees using their own smartphones, tablets, and laptops to perform corporate functions. However, it is necessary to assess BYOD, taking into account security issues.

Corporate devices tend to meet strict security standards, but when it comes to BYOD, what would be the best practices? Below is what you should take into account to securely adopt the BYOD model.

Define the Organization’s Security Policies

The first step in adopting BYOD, considering security issues, is to define the company’s policies on the subject. In this sense, it is necessary to have control over aspects such as the number of devices, their compatibility with the IT structure, and the technical resources available.

The rules vary, depending on the demands and specifics of each company. However, in all cases, the instructions must be clear and ensure the security of the business.

Train Your Employees

Still talking about BYOD best practices, it is critical to educate employees, making them aware of cybersecurity risks and training them to deal with these threats.

In this sense, your employees need to know how to best leverage important features such as multifactor authentication (MFA), what applications they can use, and what the consequences of a weak cybersecurity attitude will be.

Preserve User Privacy

When adopting BYOD, companies should also prioritize security solutions that ensure privacy for users, as this is a frequent concern of those who use personal devices for corporate purposes.

That is, IT controls and BYOD policy need to be activated in order to segregate professional and personal data.

Monitor Devices

The adoption of BYOD using security solutions that allow monitoring devices in real-time is a measure that provides much more digital security for companies. However, IT staff will not always be able to monitor all devices closely and manually.

Therefore, we recommend the use of real-time device monitoring systems, such as Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), and privilege control systems, such as Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM), which provide a series of intelligent features and offer security to corporate data.

Be Prepared to Resolve Problems with Lost Devices

Device loss and theft are common problems that compromise information security. When this occurs, the employee must report the fact to the IT team, which will perform important actions, such as locking the device and cleaning data, passwords, and critical applications.

Nevertheless, even before the loss or theft, the company must be concerned with defining protocols to be followed by employees if any of these incidents occur.

Invest in Data Encryption

When it comes to ensuring digital security for the application of the BYOD concept, it is essential to seek security solutions that offer data encryption. This technology ensures a high level of protection, even if the device is stolen or lost.

VPN Connectivity

Connecting to public Wi-Fi networks makes it easier for malicious agents to steal information from your organization. Therefore, your employees’ devices should only be connected to secure networks. So, educate the team to always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), even during remote activities.

Use Passwords On all Devices

Requiring the use of passwords in employees’ devices and accounts is critical to prevent unauthorized access to the organization’s sensitive information. However, it does not make sense to use weak, easy-to-remember, or repeated passwords, as they can be easily deciphered by malicious users.

Thus, we recommend the use of unique passwords, with at least 12 characters, containing letters, numbers, and symbols. Another very recommended measure is to use multifactor authentication to provide extra layers of security.

List Unauthorized Applications

It is important to list the apps that should not be used by employees on devices used for corporate purposes, which cover games and social networking apps.

To do this, the IT team can list these applications on a mobile device management platform, which allows them to manage security policies.

Limit Access to Data

Another security measure that cannot be left out of the strategies applied in your company is the adoption of the Need to Know Principle. Allow your employees to access only the data needed to perform their daily tasks, so it is possible to minimize damage caused by intrusions and data loss.

Manage Remote Access

Remote access management solutions allow you to control and monitor employee access to critical devices on the infrastructure. Through this type of solution, one can monitor the actions performed by users in real-time, generating alerts for the security team and assisting in the detection and remediation of unauthorized activities.

Invest in Antimalware

To adopt BYOD with security, it is necessary to invest in this type of software, which allows you to identify and remove malware before it causes irreparable damage to a device. As a rule, the most effective antimalware programs use detection techniques that consider the behavior, identifying signs of malware.

Back Up Data

The adoption of BYOD taking security into account reduces the chances of data loss. However, we recommend that you back up all external and cloud servers to recover files easily in the event of a problem.

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BYOD Usage Data

Here are some figures related to the adoption of BYOD by companies:

  • 70 million devices are lost or stolen each year, and only 7% are recovered;
  • 15% of employees accessed sensitive data from devices not authorized by the company;
  • 54% of organizations do not include employee-owned devices in their backup plans;
  • 76% of companies do not encrypt mobile devices;
  • 67% of employees use personal devices at work;
  • BYOD generates $350 worth of value each year per employer;
  • 59% of companies adopt BYOD;
  • 87% of businesses depend on their employees’ ability to access mobile business applications from their smartphones;
  • The BYOD market is expected to reach $366.95 billion by 2022;
  • An employee who uses BYOD works two more hours;
  • 69% of decision-makers in the US say BYOD is a good thing;
  • 78.48% of companies in the US had BYOD activities since 2018;
  • 82% of organizations allow employees to use personal devices for work;
  • 90% of US employees use their own smartphones at work;
  • 70% of employees use tablets offered by the company to download personal applications;
  • 40% of major data breaches were caused by lost or stolen devices;
  • 50% of companies that allowed BYOD were violated through employee-owned devices;
  • 60% of companies do not remove business data from former employee devices.

BYOD NIST: Best Practices According to the Institute

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is one of the most respected scientific laboratories today and supports American industries with the technology, market standards, and assessments.

With the increased adoption of remote work, NIST has republished one of its standards, which shows ways to adopt BYOD with security. These are:

Keep in Mind that External Environments Pose Threats

If you plan to adopt BYOD in your company, you need to consider that external environments do not offer much security. As we have already mentioned in this article, it is very common for people to have their phones lost or stolen, for example.

To reduce threats related to device loss and theft, NIST recommends encrypting stored data. It also suggests the creation of policies that prohibit the local storage of sensitive information and the use of technologies that provide more digital security, such as MFA.

When it comes to BYOD, NIST also advises against using devices on public networks, which may increase the risk of information interception, and investing in malware and endpoint protection solutions.

Establish What Forms of Remote Access Should Be Allowed By the Company

This measure is extremely important and must take into account the risks inherent in your business, evaluating the criticality of each asset to define access levels.
According to NIST, to reduce cyber threats, only devices with greater security control should have access to sensitive company data.

Configure Access Servers to Enforce Security Policies

These servers allow access to an organization’s IT environments and, if not configured correctly, may allow unauthorized access to corporate data. Moreover, they are often used for communication hijacking and data manipulation.

Therefore, if your company adopts BYOD, be aware that NIST recommends that servers are only accessed by authorized administrators through secure devices.

What’s more: Access servers need to be allocated within network perimeters, making them the single entry point for external devices.

Protect Devices from Common Threats

Devices used for remote work must have the same security features as those allocated in the company. That is, patches and system updates must be applied, as well as antivirus and a local firewall.

However, it is noteworthy that NIST does not recommend a local firewall installed on access devices follow a single policy for all environments, at the risk of not offering adequate protection in certain circumstances and being very restrictive in others.

Create a Separate Network

Allowing third-party devices to connect to your organization’s network can increase its risks, since these devices do not have the security features adopted by your company.

One solution, in this case, is to rely on a network separate from the official corporate network, which must also be monitored and protected.

BYOD Usage Policies

Since employees use their personal devices in the workplace, it is indispensable to define security policies for the use of BYOD.

In this sense, it is necessary to establish which applications and assets employees can access using their personal devices.

It is also appropriate to stipulate minimum security controls necessary for the devices and to guarantee the company the right to make changes to devices, such as remote cleaning on lost or stolen phones.

It is also advisable to:

  • Specify the types of devices with authorized use in the company;
  • Add a service policy for BYOD devices, which includes support for applications installed on employees’ personal devices;
  • Stipulate whether there will be a refund to employees in the case of monthly billings referring to the use of these devices;
  • Define whether the company will offer a security application to employees or whether employees themselves will be responsible for choosing their security solutions;
  • Determine what procedures will be adopted when an employee leaves the company and has organization data on the device; and
  • Establish responsibilities and exemptions from liability in the face of risks. For example: the company is responsible for the employee’s personal data, and the employee is responsible for leaks of sensitive data of the organization.

Future Outlook for BYOD

The application of the BYOD concept by companies is not new, but recent research published by Forbes points out that this practice provides companies with annual savings of $350 per employee per year.

This indicates the BYOD culture should continue to grow, with an increasing number of professionals using their own devices to perform corporate functions.

However, with the adoption of BYOD, companies will necessarily have to reassess their security policies in order to avoid the risks this work model offers.
Below you can check the main trends on the subject:

Wide Adoption of the BYOD Model

Until 2018, few companies were adopting the BYOD concept. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the significant increase in the number of professionals working remotely, this scenario has changed.

Today, both leaders and employees approve of this work model, with 69% of IT leaders believing it is a good complement to their corporation, and 87% of organizations trusting their employees’ ability to access mobile apps.

Given all the advantages we have shown in this article, it is clear that BYOD is here to stay, but it is necessary to invest in specific security solutions:

5G and IoT Technologies

Another trend is the use of 5G and smart IoT devices to perform work in the office or other environments. To get a sense, it is believed that there will be 1.3 billion subscriptions for IoT-related technologies by 2023.

Nevertheless, the specificities of 5G and IoT will create new security demands for the BYOD work model, with associated costs.

Reduction of Expenses Through BYOD

Remote work imposed by Covid-19 has boosted the adoption of the BYOD concept, which allowed employees to use their own devices to maintain productivity.

With this, companies were able to realize it is possible to generate savings by implementing home office, while simplifying support for work teams.

Compliance with Security Criteria

Balancing information security and corporate data compliance with ensuring flexibility for device users will be a major challenge for IT managers, especially due to the development of technologies such as 5G and IoT.

To address this challenge, it is critical to train employees to deal with risks, protect corporate data with encryption, and adopt tools such as MFA.

It is also important to assess the impact of emerging technologies on security policies, provide companies with visibility and control of all devices, and limit employees’ access to the data they need to perform their tasks.

History of BYOD

In 2004, the term BYOD was first used by service provider VolP Broad Voice. The company launched a service that enabled companies to forward calls to personal devices.

Five years later, the term started to be adopted in the industrial sector, when Intel detected that many of its employees used their own devices at work connected to the corporate network, and implemented a formal policy to address the situation.

As early as 2012, the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission adhered to BYOD, making this option common to workers from a variety of companies.

In 2016, six out of ten organizations allowed their employees to use their own devices to perform their tasks. This year, investments in BYOD are expected to reach $367 billion, as forecast.

About senhasegura

We, from senhasegura, are part of the MT4 Tecnologia group, and aim to provide cybersecurity and digital sovereignty to our customers.

Today, we work with institutions from 54 countries, acting against information theft and tracking actions on servers, databases, network administrators, and devices in general.

With this, we can provide efficiency and productivity to organizations, as we avoid interruptions of their activities by expiration, in addition to ensuring compliance with audit criteria and standards, such as PCI DSS, Sarbanes-Oxley, ISO 27001, and HIPAA.

We have a solution you can use to integrate your devices, including BYOD, into a secure and efficient platform, avoiding vulnerabilities in your devices: our Discovery feature. With it you have the following advantages:

  • Full-stack plug-and-play platform with faster configuration and simple maintenance, which allows your company to obtain a faster return on investment and without additional infrastructure costs;
  • No hidden costs in additional licensing, such as operating systems or database licenses, allows the company to plan a more accurate volume on the investment when deploying the PAM solution in its critical environment;
  • Fully open integration plugins, which allow a new integration to be done in less than 24 hours;
    Cloud Identity and Governance Administration (IGA) and DevOps Discovery Capabilities resources, which allow including identity governance of cloud environments directly in the PAM solution;
  • An intuitive user interface, which makes deployment and support training faster and easier; and
    Customized and specific high-performance hardware that provides advanced security features.

Conclusion

In this article, you saw that:

  • BYOD is a concept that deals with access to corporate data through the personal devices of professionals;
  • This practice was widely adopted during the pandemic, when most companies had to adhere to remote work;
  • Adopting the BYOD concept provides a number of advantages for organizations and their employees, such as increased productivity, reduced operating costs, more satisfied employees, access to cutting-edge technology, facilitated communication, increased trust between employers and staff, reduced workload on support teams, and attracting the best talent;
  • It also generates disadvantages, such as problems related to security and software;
  • To have more security, companies must define policies to be respected, train their employees, preserve the privacy of users, monitor devices, solve problems with stolen or lost devices, and invest in data encryption;
  • It is also essential that employees connect only to secure networks, that all devices have passwords, and that access to data is limited, among other measures;
  • NIST also recommends considering threats from external environments, establishing what forms of remote access are allowed by the company, and configuring access servers to reinforce security policies;
  • Other NIST guidelines on BYOD are: protect devices from common threats and create a separate network aimed at connecting third parties;
  • The future for BYOD involves a wide adoption of this work model, suitability for emerging technologies such as 5G and IoT, reduction of expenses through BYOD, and adjustments for compliance with security requirements;
  • The term BYOD was first used in 2004 by the service provider VolP Broad Voice and, since then, the practice has gained popularity within organizations;
  • You have also learned about the features and benefits of our Discovery feature, which allows you to integrate your devices, including BYOD, into a secure platform.

Do you want to learn more about BYOD and how we can help your business feel more secure? Then get in touch!

 

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