Today, more employees find themselves working remotely than ever before. In fact, up to 42 percent of the United States’ labor force is now working from home full-time. With more employees involved in remote work, many companies are also implementing “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies, allowing workers to use their own personal devices (computers, laptops, tablets, etc.) in lieu of company-issued ones.
While instituting these BYOD policies can save organizations money up-front and help employees feel more comfortable while working from home, the reality is that they also pose some major security threats. By understanding the key dangers of BYOD, organization leaders can make informed decisions regarding whether these procedures are truly in their best interests.
Lost or Stolen Devices
If an employee loses his or her personal smartphone, this can become an instant security risk – especially if they were using it to check work emails, log into company server accounts, or conduct any other sensitive business-related activities. Unfortunately, about 41 percent of data breaches are caused by either lost or stolen devices.
While it’s true that company-issued hardware may also be lost or stolen, the chances are lower, and organizations can take proactive steps (like encrypting these devices and placing GPS trackers on them) to reduce the risk of them falling into the wrong hands.
Malicious Apps or Malware
When you’re allowing employees to use their own devices while connected to their home networks, there is no oversight or company firewall in place preventing them from accidentally downloading malware or visiting a malicious website. As a result, these devices are much more prone to viruses and other online threats that can be used to log keystrokes, steal passwords, and compromise your company’s data.
Even the most well-meaning employees may not be familiar with cybersecurity best practices. For example, they may not understand how to spot the signs of a potential phishing email, or they might be in the habit of using weak passwords that are easy for hackers to crack.
Unfortunately, when you implement a bring your own device policy at your workplace, your protection can only be as strong as your weakest link. This means that you might be staking the security and reputation of your company on an employee whose password for everything is “password1.”
Opportunities for Data Theft
One of the greatest BYOD risks business owners should be aware of is the large opportunity for data theft that these policies expose. When your employees use their personal devices to conduct business, they may not give much thought to things like sending a sensitive work-related email over a public and unsecured wireless connection. That one mistake could open up your company to all kinds of security issues – including a data breach that could seriously tarnish your reputation.
Is BYOD Right for Your Business?
Now that you have a better understanding of the risks, you can decide whether or not a BYOD policy is the best choice for your company. If you’re looking for more ways to beef up security, making the switch to a dedicated server is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do.