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How to Avoid the BYOD Security Risks Threatening Your Business

Laurie Power

Reduced hardware expenses, greater productivity, and improved work-life balance make a strong case for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies around the office. However, some private sector organizations still avoid the BYOD model for fear of cyberattacks. Employees don’t always act with digital caution, unknowingly bringing infected devices into the workplace. Thankfully, Canadian businesses can mitigate BYOD security risks with the right tools and tactics. Here are a few tips to keep your business protected from hackers hitchhiking their way onto your network.

Start with Your People

According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of an insider threat is $8.76 million. Outside of malicious insider attacks, 64% of all data breaches stem from employee negligence and 13% from credential theft. That reinforces what companies like IBM and cybersecurity experts are quick to say: your employees are your first line of defense.

Any effective BYOD security and compliance strategy hinges on creating awareness throughout the organization – from entry level people to the executive suite. We’ve seen Office 365 email hacks where cybercriminals nearly defrauded clients out of millions by forging a trusted vendor’s email sender address. If the executives had been habituated to always verify email sender addresses, they might have spotted the fraud before their banks had to cancel the transactions.

Mobile device security depends on your employees’ day-to-day actions. For security best-practices to take hold, companies need to condition their teams to watch for phishing tactics and malicious applications. That requires regular repetition through training sessions, seminars, and communication if you want to make BYOD security part of the everyday mindset. Though it can be difficult to remain current with all of the latest cybersecurity strategies, it’s worth keeping your team mobilized without compromising security.

Manage Employees’ Access

Without the proper protocols in place, allowing employees to use their own devices is about as haphazard as letting people wander freely in the Royal Canadian Mint. Some have the clearance, but there will be plenty of eager trespassers. So, how do you tell the difference between authorized and unauthorized access? By implementing the following types of security tools and features that monitor and control access.

  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) – One of the key challenges for BYOD security is maintaining flexibility and data safeguards all at once. Mobile device management software aims to deliver that value. Tools like Microsoft Intune keep employees productive everywhere while also providing a single sign-on portal (effective for identity access management), encryption for sensitive data, and cloud storage so none of the data is kept on the employee’s device.
  • Azure Active Directory – Want to control which devices can access your network and data in the first place? Azure is equipped with a solution from the start. Azure Active Directory distributes identities for each employee’s device to authenticate itself when the user signs-in. On the administrative side, you can even create conditional rule sets to allow, limit, or prohibit access on an individual basis.
  • Virtualized Mobile Infrastructure (VMI) – What if your files were never technically on an employee’s device? A virtualized mobile infrastructure can launch a mobile operating system, with all of your necessary business apps and authorizations, from a remote server. That way, if an employee’s device is hacked or lost, there is another barrier to criminals accessing your sensitive data.
Want to learn more about BYOD security risks and other cyber threats to your business? Get your free copy of our eBook How to Fit the Biggest Cybersecurity Threats and Win to find out how to keep you assets protected.

 

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How to Avoid the BYOD Security Risks Threatening Your Business

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