How can you reduce BYOD risks in the workplace?
It is interesting to note that while some people are seriously concerned about corporate data security arising from BYOD or "Bring Your Own Device" strategies in the workplace, about 15% of all employees believe that they have little to no responsibility of protecting the data stored on their personal devices.
Here are some startling facts and figures gathered by Centrify, an identity management software provider based in California, in their most recent survey:
- 50% of the 500 respondents from medium to large companies have more than six third-party apps installed in their BYOD products, and about 15% of these respondents have had their personal accounts compromised.
- 43% accessed sensitive company data and privileged company applications using an unsecured internet connection.
- Countless employees do not immediately report lost or stolen BYODs.
What Can You Do About It?
Recognizing the serious risks involved, what can you do to protect your company's sensitive data and intellectual property? Here are some suggestions that may help you accomplish your goal.
- Educate your employees. Let your employees understand the risks involved and use BYOD security compliance as a basis for employee performance reviews and compensation.
- Lock it. Safeguard smartphones by setting up lock screens. For Android devices, consider using apps such as the NiLS Notification Lock Screen by Roymam, Dynamic Lock Screen by Predicted Media, GO Locker by GO Launcher EX and/or Hidden Lock by Marinelli.tv. For iPhones, you may want to consider using the fingerprint scanner if the device comes with this feature. These may not be fail-proof but at least these apps can raise the security bar up a notch.
- Encrypt your data. Add a layer of protection by encrypting your data. For Android devices, you need to turn on encryption and set up a password to decrypt the data. Make sure your employees use a strong password for added security.
- Require malware protection. According to the Kindsight Security Labs Malware Report – Q4 2013 published by Alcatel-Lucent, mobile malware infections increased by 20% in 2013. This means that more than 11.6 million mobile devices (60% of which are Android smartphones) are infected at any given time. The presence of malware in BYOD products can carry a significant risk since it can collect sensitive information even without your permission and transit them without your knowledge.
Keep in mind that while BYOD can be advantageous, it also carries a significant risk so it is your duty to find out how you can motivate your employees to take these security risks seriously.