BYOD- More likely to be prone to internal and external threats?

Introduced in 2009, BYOD (Bring your own device), also known as BYOP (Bring your own phone) and BYOT (Bring your own technology), allow employees to use their own devices (Smart Phones, Laptops, Tablets, etc). The concept of BYOD is rapidly growing in popularity and is being widely implemented across organizations to reduce cost and increase productivity of the employees.

Advantages:

  • Increased productivity: Comfort and familiarity with personal devices with the added benefit of working remotely, substantially improves the productivity of employees. Additionally, personal electronic devices are typically up-to-date with the latest technology specifications that support most of the applications and new software installations, with minimal lag or delay. This further enhances the productivity and reduces time to complete each task.
  • Employee satisfaction Moreover, based on various surveys, most of the employees across enterprises believe that BYOD policies helps them in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, consequently resulting in better employee satisfaction and improved efficiency.
  • Cost savings for Company: Average cost of a device for an organization’s workforce ranges from $300 to $700 based on device used (including smartphones, tablets, and desktop PCs). With the ownership of these devices transferred to the employees, organizations can significantly cut down on costs which includes device maintenance.

However, as common with most technological revelations, BYOD’s flipside showcases a challenge in the form of increased costs required for application security, back-end infrastructure and program management, policy development, and other regulatory compliance fees.  Moreover, BYOD policies differ across enterprises depending on the size of the organization and the cultural diversity within, along with external threats and risks faced by it.

Challenges

  • Increased number of cyberattacks worldwide in recent years, brings in the biggest challenge for bring your own device (BYOD) trend with concerns over vulnerability of these devices. BYODs are prone to huge risks such as data breaches as these devices are used by the employees for storing personal data as well as for other personal usage. A breach in security for these devices could adversely affect the operations of an organization, hence making it critical for organizations to have strict policy guidelines or robust security measures that govern the devices that are used for organizational workflows or for accessing critical files within the organization.
  • The increasing number of BYODs within organization has triggered more frequent network outages/downtime with system administrators trying to initiate complex set of tasks to manage and govern systems connected to the organization’s network. Every new device connecting to the organization’s network, increases the potential threats (such as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack potentially triggered by bot from contaminated files/applications on BYOD device) manifold, as these new network entities are susceptible and easy targets for hackers during personal usage.
  • One of the major risk of security breaches with BYODs occur when the employee devices are stolen or lost.
  • Many companies are struggling to manage their BYOD environment with increased costs from end-point management and application security solutions along with backend integration costs. Moreover, BYOD increases concerns over unauthorized access to the company data, data leakage, downloading unsafe applications or content, and/or fraudulent transactions. Though, organizations are turning to security companies for enhanced security measures with Artificial Intelligence (AI) based solutions to detect threat and vulnerabilities associated with BYOD, however with the current state of infrastructure and technological expertise, it is a challenge for most companies to create a full proof system that will mitigate eminent risks from the BYOD trend.

Conclusion:

BYODs are more prone to threats from DDoS and ransomware attacks, as well as eminent risk of identity theft, as organizations have less control over the BYODs. With a rising trend in BYOD adoption, IT professionals across enterprises are loaded with an increasing challenge to secure the organization’s sensitive information, with more robust and secure policy guidelines. Most of the security firms are fabricating AI/machine learning techniques, for advanced security analytics, to empower system administrators within organizations to have a proactive and robust defence for the enterprise network, from security breaches that may occur from BYOD trend adoption.

– Sonam Chawla
ICT Market Research Analyst
Infoholic Research