The Importance of Investing in BYOD Security Solutions
In today’s work environment, where hybrid work is becoming increasingly common, “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policies are quickly becoming the norm. BYOD refers to the policy of allowing employees to use their personal devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, to access corporate resources. However, while BYOD can improve accessibility and reduce costs, it also poses significant security risks.
And as the primary point of access for enterprise employees today, web browsing is at the heart of those security efforts. Whether working in-office or remotely, web browsing underpins practically every aspect of the modern enterprise employee’s work life. We email, chat, draft memos, conduct research, develop presentations, submit expense reports, and so much more, all within the confines of our preferred web browser.
What’s more, the act of web browsing is no longer confined to web browsers themselves. Countless applications today enable some degree of web browsing to take place without ever leaving the app itself. Whether this comes in the form of in-app browsers or otherwise, the growing divide between browsers and browsing has effectively expanded organizations’ attack surface and exposed them to heightened risk.
That’s why modern enterprise security, BYOD or otherwise, must begin with browsing security. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of investing in secure BYOD solutions, understanding the risks of BYOD policies, and will provide best practices for keeping your organization safe in the face of this trend.
Understanding the Risks of BYOD
First, it’s important that organizations understand the inherent risks that come along with BYOD policies. While it is undeniably more efficient and convenient, the use of personal devices for work purposes introduces a range of risks that are not present when dealing with managed devices only. Some of these inherent risks include:
- Data leakage: Sensitive corporate data can be easily accessed and transferred to personal cloud storage or email accounts, increasing the risk of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
- Malware, viruses, and zero-days: Personal devices cannot be relied on to have their software components updated or patched, making them vulnerable to malware, viruses, and zero-day vulnerabilities. Using these BYOD devices to connect to and access corporate resources, in turn puts organizations at risk. Unlike managed devices, on which organizations can force over-the-air updates, personal devices are left to the whims of their owner.
- Lost or stolen devices: Personal devices are more likely to be lost or stolen, as they are taken to social events, restaurants, bars, and are more frequently exposed to theft than devices used for work purposes only. This, of course, greatly increases the potential for the loss of sensitive corporate data.
- Lack of compliance: Without direct oversight and management, there’s no guarantee that employees will follow your organization’s security policies on their personal devices (nor can they be required to). This may lead to compliance issues as well as increased risk.
The Importance of BYOD Security Solutions
For these reasons (among others), BYOD security measures are crucial for protecting sensitive corporate data from theft, loss, and cyber attacks. With the increase of remote work, the use of personal devices has become more widespread, and traditional security measures like firewalls and antivirus software are no longer sufficient defenses for the average organization. To make matters worse, the threat associated with personal devices isn’t entirely new. According to a study by Check Point, 20% of organizations had experienced a mobile security breach as far back as 2017.
By investing in BYOD security solutions, organizations can ensure that their data is protected, even on personal devices. With these tools, organizations can reduce the immediate risk of compromised personal devices by limiting malicious actors’ ability to move laterally across a compromised network, and prevent the spread of malicious files and programs. However, in order for these types of tools to be successful, organizations must ensure they abide by the latest best practices, which we will outline below.
Best Practices for BYOD Security
To ensure the security of corporate data on personal devices, organizations should implement best practices for BYOD security. These practices help to ensure employees’ devices remain secure, while minimizing negative impacts on productivity. These best practices include:
- Always opt for agentless solutions: It’s important to remember that BYOD security is dealing with employees’ personal devices. So for such security policies to be effective, they must also seek to minimize intrusiveness as much as possible. Employees do not want to install multiple security agents on their personal devices, which is why one should always opt for agentless solutions in a BYOD work environment.
- Developing a BYOD policy: Developing a clear, explicit BYOD policy that should outline the security requirements for personal devices and employees’ responsibilities for maximizing organizational security.
- Encrypting data: Encryption is one of the most important steps an organization can take to secure their data. Modern encryption standards ensure malicious actors cannot access or otherwise make use of exfiltrated or intercepted data in the event of device loss, theft, or breach.
- Conducting security awareness training: More than 90% of cyber attacks today are made possible by human error. The human element has and will remain the most significant vulnerability facing organizations, regardless of device policies or IT architecture. However, in the context of BYOD, employees should be trained on specific BYOD security measures and best practices to reduce the likelihood of breach. These best practices may vary depending on the types of devices and software the organization has in use, but your BYOD security policy should make sure to include routine, relevant training.
With the rise of hybrid work and the increasing use of personal devices for work purposes, BYOD security measures are more critical than ever. By implementing best practices for BYOD security and investing in secure solutions, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with BYOD and help keep their data secure.
Effective BYOD Security Begins With Browsing Security
At the end of the day, BYOD security is less about securing employees’ devices, and more about securing the assets and resources the employees are accessing using said devices. This includes protecting sensitive data from leakage and preventing users from accessing organizational resources with a compromised device.
Investing in BYOD security solutions can help organizations protect their sensitive data from cyber threats and maintain compliance with security policies. Solutions such as those offered by Red Access can help organizations effectively manage personal devices, enforce security policies, and prevent data loss.
Although things like best practices, policies, and training are indeed helpful, they are not enough to ensure your organization remains safe in the face of today’s cyber threats. That’s why every organization would be wise to invest in tools and technologies designed with remote and BYOD work policies in mind.
Want to see first hand how Red Access can bolster your BYOD security strategy? Start your free trial today.