What is BYOD?


What is BYOD?- Employees who bring their own computing devices to work instead of or in addition to company-supplied devices are referred to as BYOD. People are becoming more connected to a single type of mobile operating system or device as they increasingly own their own high-end mobile computing devices.

Bringing your own device (BYOD) can happen under the radar or as part of a specific corporate strategy in which an organisation supports personal mobile devices or even gives a stipend to employees to enable them to acquire a device such as laptops, smartphones, or tablet PCs.

History of BYOD

Despite the fact that the concept was first coined in 2009, it wasn’t until 2010 that BYOD became considerably more prevalent. With personal gadgets infiltrating the workplace, CIOs began to feel the strain, and it was around this time that Android began to gain traction and the first iPad was released. As a result, a growing number of tablets and smartphones were being utilised in the workplace, and IT continued to accept BYOD without providing any support. Many companies have begun to prohibit personal devices from accessing their mail servers and networks. In 2010, Apple released iOS 4, which included the first mobile APIs. IT and enterprises have finally realised that they can’t ignore Bring Your Own Device indefinitely.

BYOD programmes and formal backing entered the workplace at a significantly higher rate in 2011. The workplace mobility market was fast transforming, and executives were beginning to feel comfortable typing on touchscreen keyboards.

Despite the fact that the IT challenge was still focused on securing the device, the first significant concerns about data loss and security surfaced in 2012. Users were suddenly very worried about their personal information. Businesses were concentrating on accurately expressing BYOD policies to concerned users while also attempting to comprehend the security and privacy consequences. As a result, demand for Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions has increased.

You must bring your own device. As a result, the way businesses granted access to their computer networks changed. Traditionally, a school or business’s IT department would create closed networks that could only be accessed by the machines they owned. Students and employees will be able to connect to more open networks using their own smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

The explosion in popularity of tablets and smartphones, combined with reduced laptop computer prices, sparked the BYOD trend. Individuals who previously relied on organisations to provide them with hardware for employment can now own gadgets capable of doing the same tasks.

Why BYOD Security? – Understanding Bring Your Own Device Security Risks

Malware: When employees start bringing their own gadgets to work, very little is known about the device. Because employees use these devices for personal purposes, they may be vulnerable to malware and other cybersecurity threats that originate outside of the firm. For IT security administrators, the potential of BYOD users bringing their malware with them is a serious worry.

Bring Your Own Device can lead to data loss or leakage, in addition to the risk of introducing malware into a corporate environment. With unmanaged BYOD devices, a user with unrestricted access to a business network can take whatever they have access to and take it outside the organisation with them. It’s possible that the device will be stolen or lost.

Hardware: With corporate-provided smartphones, the company has complete control over the phone hardware selection, which has been thoroughly verified to fulfil corporate compliance needs. Default configurations capable of matching corporate policies are usually provisioned on phones and other devices issued by organisations to their employees.

How to Mitigate BYOD Risks in Businesses?

Managing what can be a slew of mobile devices has become a critical problem for all businesses as the BYOD concept has grown into an unstoppable force throughout the business landscape.

Businesses today want a platform that allows for high levels of monitoring and data security as their fleet of mobile devices grows. A mobile device management system (MDM) is now required for tracking mobile device usage and includes the ability to wipe devices if they are lost or stolen.

A variety of procedures can be used by businesses to help limit the dangers associated with BYOD. These are some of the measures:

  • Remote Wipe

The concept of remotely wiping data from a device is referred to as remote wipe. This involves overwriting stored data to prevent forensic recovery and restoring the device to its factory settings, rendering all data on it unavailable to anyone.

  • Profiling of risk

It is critical for businesses to understand their own data security needs. This is especially true in regulated workplaces where risk profiles must be established and compliance criteria must be met. International deployment and compliance requirements, for example, are two scenarios where BYOD risks are particularly high.

  • Keeping current with the times

It’s critical to keep browsers, operating systems, and other apps up to date with the latest security updates on a regular basis. Staying current ensures that the devices of departing staff are properly erased of corporate data. If this does not happen, there may be a data breach at some point in the future.

  • Isolating information

It’s usually a good idea to limit access to company data based on the nature of an employee’s job function.

  • Tracing of devices

A tight device tracking policy should be implemented by all businesses. This will allow them to stay on top of the whereabouts of all corporate devices, whether they are in use or not. It’s also a good idea to install a surveillance system that can track all devices entering and exiting the firm. The surveillance system should also encompass the gadgets of visitors.

Key benefits to operating a BYOD strategy in an organisation are discussed below:

  • Technology familiarity

People mostly tend to be familiar with their own devices. Apple enthusiasts, for example, are well-versed in Apple technology, whereas Windows fans are well-versed in Windows-based devices. Employees may become frustrated as they try to adjust to a new device. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) eliminates this problem by allowing employees to work on their own individualised gadgets that fulfil all of their demands and allow them to be totally proficient in their employment.

  • Flexibility

Allowing employees in a company to utilise only one device instead of many devices to meet their work and home needs eliminates the need for them to travel with several devices to meet their work and home demands. Employees will be able to work normally from anywhere, just as they do in the office, because they will have access to all of the data they require. The tight procedures that these employees must follow when using business property do not bother them. Employees have more freedom as a result of Bring Your Own Device.

  • Reduced costs

Companies that use BYOD can save a lot of money because they don’t have to buy expensive gadgets for their staff to accomplish things like eLearning. Wastage and breakages may be decreased as a result of employees taking better care of their own equipment than company-owned devices, as any repair expenses may fall on the employee.

  • Increased productivity and innovation

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) aids in the development of a good relationship between employee comfort and productivity. Employees become more comfortable with their devices as they utilise them, and so master their utilisation. These gadgets are typically equipped with the most up-to-date technologies, making them advantageous to businesses.

Allowing employees to utilise BYOD in the workplace could result in a number of security risks associated with:

Allowing employees to bring their own devices to work could pose a number of security problems, including:

  • Antivirus and firewall software aren’t installed.

Employees who use their own devices at work should always be encouraged to keep their firewall and antivirus software up to date. Failure to do so can result in weak networks and system flaws.

  • Using an unprotected Wi-Fi network

Employees frequently use their devices outside of the workplace, and are thus more likely to connect to insecure Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, stores, airports, or even at home. Hackers can gain easy access to a company’s networks or systems if the network is not properly secured.

  • Devices that have been stolen or lost

If devices containing firm data are lost, forgotten, or stolen, it may be possible for unwelcome third parties to get access to sensitive information. This happens most often when gadgets aren’t protected with passcodes or passwords.

  • Employees that are leaving the company

After abruptly leaving the organisation, ex-employees may acquire unlawful access to systems. This occurs because you may not have time to wipe devices clean of company data and passwords when employees abruptly leave.

When proper precautions are not taken, all of these risks pose a threat to the company’s sensitive and critical data. As a result, before introducing a BYOD policy at your company, you’ll need to create a security plan that outlines the rules that employees must follow. It is critical to educate staff about the importance of these policies in order to avoid data from being compromised.

Insurance Implications of BYOD

Despite the finest security methods, controls, and regulations in place, it is possible for company data to become vulnerable to hackers. This is where cyber liability insurance enters the picture.

Insurers must create services and products that are tailored to the specific needs of businesses and their employees in terms of data privacy. To do so, the insurance sector will need to keep ahead of the curve in order to ensure that policies are current with BYOD trends and new areas of exposure, such as who is responsible for resulting losses and stolen data, even if devices are compromised outside of the workplace.

Insurers are well-versed in the problems and hazards related with Bring Your Own Device, and can thus identify specific pain points and provide the necessary protection for commercial customers. Insurers and businesses must also be aware of the special risks associated with BYOD in order to offer adequate coverage in the event that sensitive data is compromised.

Securing a BYOD programme can take several different forms, involving varied types of technologies and policies

Controlling access to corporate networks and resources is considered the most basic core level of network access control (NAC). Allowing any device to join to a corporate network without any validation or control is a formula for disaster in today’s threat landscape.

MDM (Mobile Device Management): Enrolling hardware devices in an MDM platform allows enterprises to track and manage devices that access a network.

How to Establish an Effective BYOD Policy

Consider the following ideas to cover IT service, application use, security, and various other components if you have an outdated policy, are in the midst of drafting a corporate Bring Your Own Device policy, or have yet to adopt a policy:

  • Make a list of the devices that will be allowed.

People who owned a blackberry tended to utilise the same device for work. Employees, on the other hand, are now spoiled with a wide range of devices, from iPhones to Android phones. It’s always crucial to define exactly what “bring your own device” means. You’ll need to determine which gadgets are acceptable to the company and which devices can be used.

  • Establish a strict security policy for all devices entering the premises.

On their personal devices, most users refuse to use lock screens and passwords. They struggle with the simplicity with which they can access the content and functionalities on their gadget. This isn’t a particularly valid complaint. Once phones and other gadgets are connected to business systems, a lot of sensitive information can be viewed. Employees who want to participate in the BYOD effort must be willing to protect their devices by configuring them with strong passwords. Instead of a basic four-digit password, a lengthy alphabetical password must be used.

  • Define a clear service policy for devices that meet the BYOD requirements.

There are a lot of boundaries that management will have to set when it comes to handling difficulties and inquiries about employees’ personal gadgets. To put this in place, policymakers will need to address issues such as: What will be the policies for support for personally owned applications? What kind of assistance will be provided for devices that have been damaged? Will Helpdesk be limited to ticketing issues with calendaring, email, and other personal information management apps?

  • Who owns what apps and data should be communicated clearly.

Questions must be made about whether the BYOD policy developed would allow for the complete wiping of any device brought into the network. If this is the case, staff will need specific instructions on how to secure their devices and back up their data so that it can be restored if the device is lost or stolen.

  • What apps will be permitted and which will be prohibited?

This rule must apply to any device, personal or corporate, that can connect to an organization’s servers. The application for replacement email apps, VPNs, social media browsing, or other remote access software will be among the most important concerns. The challenge here is whether users will be able to download, install, and utilise software on a device that has access to extremely sensitive company resources that could generate security or legal risks.

  • Creating a departure strategy for employees

Finally, think about what would happen if an employee quits the company with a device that is permitted under the BYOD policy. How will management go about deleting all access tokens, email accounts, data, and other proprietary data and applications? This is not an easy task. Employees are unable to simply return a corporate-issued phone. As part of a leaving interview and HR checklists, a number of firms tackle this problem by not giving access to corporate emails or synchronisation access. However, those who are too concerned about security try to use a BYOD-enabled wipe as a forced exit tactic.

BYOD Mobile Security

Because of the rapid expansion of user- and corporate-owned devices in the workplace, businesses must increasingly bolster their support infrastructure. MDM is regarded as the primary software solution for safeguarding and managing your company’s apps and data on mobile endpoint devices that enter and exit your organisation. MDM platforms provide a central interface via which you may interact with data on your company’s devices as well as your employees’ personal devices, which are typically enrolled in the platform when they are hired.

BYOD policies have shown to be cost-effective for businesses that require their staff to be mobile. Understanding BYOD and its influence on an existing organisation and infrastructure is an important milestone in the process of adopting employee-owned devices, as it will allow a company to make the most of cloud PCs, superphones, tablets, and smartphones.

Given below are some of the best practises when it comes to BYOD and security concerns:

Policy review: Existing policies may need to be tweaked, but there should be a clear path toward applying existing policies to the world of mobile apps and devices as well.

MDM software evaluation: MDM software has the potential to solve a number of your security challenges, but it will need time to thoroughly examine it.

Set realistic expectations: Using a mobile device for personal purposes differs significantly from using a mobile device for business purposes. Employees who use BYOD will have to accept compromises as well as the reality that their company’s security is paramount.

Support for mobile platforms: The mobile platform landscape is highly fragmented. You’ll need to keep in mind that devices other than Apple’s iPhone/iPad may support a number of functions, so your company will need to keep track of which ones are supported.

Application policy: To run third-party software, an application policy might be based on blacklisting or whitelisting software, as well as the use of containers. You’ll need to be very specific about which software is allowed and which is not. Setting up an application policy can take a lot of time and effort, but it’s at the heart of any security strategy. Only reporting, auditing, and centralised management apps should be permitted.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.