67% of employees already use personal devices at work, and hybrid working means this number will only increase. BYOD refers to companies allowing employees to use their personal devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, to connect to the corporate networks and access the resources and critical data for work purposes.
BYOD provides many benefits: employees are more productive, workplaces are more flexible, and organisations gain substantial cost reductions per employee. However, it also introduces unique security risks and challenges to the organisation.
Organisations need to re-evaluate their existing policies to cater for this trend and keep up with an ever-evolving digital environment.
When employees use personal devices at work, any access to the corporate network poses a risk. Attackers can access a device via phishing or malware to:
Employees will inevitably perform both work and personal tasks on their personal devices.
Your organisation can't control the websites visited by employees or their access to sensitive data on public wireless or unsecured home networks — the list of potential threats is endless.
Smartphones are commonly infected by malware, and in most cases, smartphone users are not aware their phone is infected. Another threat is that users often install questionable applications.
Wi-Fi is an excellent tool enabling users to access networks as guests or BYOD users with their personal devices. However, failure to properly secure that network can breach your defences, and data can be compromised.
Privacy and data sovereignty laws introduced common frameworks to manage and monitor compliance for a range of IT regulations and standards.
Organisations have embraced BYOD initiatives like never before. Remote working and the proliferation of different personal device types, including IoT, have instigated widespread change.
Network Access Control (NAC) provides control to the IT department, ensuring only authenticated users/devices can access the private company network. NAC enforces policies to regulate the network users can access areas while continuously monitoring and logging their activity.
NAC solutions automatically detect devices as they connect from inside or outside to the network and verify they are not compromising the security in place. As an important part of a Zero Trust, NAC enables IT admins to control network onboarding, access to network resources, and the devices connected to it - even those we don't know.
IT security professionals are already stretched thin in most organisations today. NAC should off-load tasks from IT and Help-Desk to increase their productivity while maintaining secure network environments with easy control and management for IT.
The optimum NAC solution supports:
Employees will use their own devices - it's unavoidable. Organisations only have one option: be stringent in securing critical data and networks, without hampering the ease of access.
BYOD forces organisations to reconsider the existing security policies while creating flexibility for employees to be productive and engaged. As long as there are strong policies and strict implementation, organisations can reap great benefits from BYOD.