Recognizing and Mitigating the Risks of BYOD Model

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model has become quite popular these days, as it provides some valuable benefits. It boosts productivity, saves costs, and improves talent retention.

However, it also brings some security risks, such as data leak and data loss. This is why every business that embraces the BYOD model should put some security measures in place. Take a look at some of the most notable risks that BYOD comes with, as well as the best solutions for mitigating them.

The Security Risks of BYOD Model

Both businesses and employees face these security risks, albeit in slightly different ways. Businesses want to keep their corporate data safe and secure, while employees don’t want employers to access or delete their personal data. Here are the most crucial risks everyone should be aware of.

1. Data Leak

A data leak is possible to occur if an organization embraces the BYOD model, and doesn’t apply proper security controls. This may happen if employees don’t take adequate security precautions to protect their devices from potential cybersecurity threats.

This includes antivirus software, strong passwords, WiFi encryption, and many other solutions. If an employee connects their unprotected device to the corporate network, a cybercriminal can easily gain access to all the company’s data.

2. Data Loss

What if an employee loses their device? What if someone steals it, knowing that they can get their hands on sensitive corporate data? This is a huge risk that requires immediate action in the form of remote data wipes.

This brings another considerable risk for employees – personal data loss. No one wants to instantly delete their personal data in case of device theft, because they hope that they may still find the device. However, for businesses, time is of the essence, and waiting isn’t a choice.

3. Public Exposure

Connecting a device to public WiFi enables hackers to gain access to it, and all the data it stores. Connecting via Bluetooth can be just as dangerous.

4. Malware

Malicious apps also pose a significant threat, as they can sniff and alter communications on a device and steal sensitive data. The same goes for rogue apps, which seem legitimate, but actually contain malware. If an employee installs any such app, they put their entire organization at risk.

The Solutions for Mitigating the BYOD Risks

Fortunately, there are steps that every organization can take to increase their level of security, and mitigate these BYOD risks.

1. Regular Software Updates

Employers must ensure their employees regularly update all apps, browsers, and systems on their devices. They must install every new security patch as soon as software vendors release them so that there are no vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.

2. Remotely Wiping Stolen Devices

If a potential cybercriminal happens to breach the system via a stolen device, organizations should be able to wipe the device remotely. However, they should be careful with this practice, so as not to instantly wipe a device if, for instance, a user enters an incorrect password a few times.

Perhaps an employee’s child took the phone and messed with the unlock feature. A remote wipe, which returns a device to its factory settings, would delete all the personal files for no reason. This is why it’s better to physically confirm a potential breach first.

3. Establishing Formal BYOD Policies

Every organization embracing the BYOD model should have a proper BYOD policy in place. The policy should communicate rules for using the devices responsibly, which could include social media access, covering data loss, data encryption, password protection, and other security procedures.

4. Using a VPN

The best way to ensure full data protection, and prevent potential cyber incidents, is to use a VPN. A VPN will encrypt all internet connections, including on public WiFi, and hide all online activities.

That way, cybercriminals won’t be able to target any device and intercept any data transmission. Every employee should install a VPN on their device, and always keep it on, even when they leave the company premises.

As you can see, the BYOD model isn’t as safe as a lot of people think. It’s definitely convenient, but it comes with its fair share of risks. Luckily, these solutions can mitigate all the risks, so be sure to apply them as soon as you can.

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