How BYOD can impact your organization and threaten data security
Gone are the days when the company (and more specifically, the IT department) was responsible for protecting company resources and data from being exposed/hacked. Once upon a time, employees were simply provided a basic set of resources; a computer, a phone, and a workstation somewhere in the office. Today, we carry mobile devices ranging from laptops to tablets and smartphones. And with the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) computing, we’re not only carrying those supplied by our employers, but our own personal devices as well. These come with certain consequences, including the potential exposure of (confidential) data. Or the possibility of being hacked, with the risk of downloading ransomware. Firewalls are no longer enough to protect companies and individuals from external threats. So how can we make sure that we safely access the internet and avoid the risk of exposing sensitive information or giving malicious attackers a way in?
What IT can do to secure company resources and data
The IT department remains largely responsible for securing the network and protecting data throughout the enterprise. In many cases, the security levels appear to suffice, but the changing circumstances might uncover information that warrants taking further steps to improve security. Those steps can include additional firewalls, implementing servers as trusted nodes, or something as simple as educating end users and having a BYOD restrictive use policy. Encrypting data in motion is another way to avoid an unauthorized person from accessing this data. Whatever measures are taken, one thing is for certain: in today’s climate, it is dangerous to think that security measures implemented yesterday are sufficient to protect against today’s threats.
There are companies, including Microsoft, that offer Cyber security assessments (CSA). The purpose of these is to establish whether the IT security levels need to be increased. On the upside, such an assessment (which closely resembles an audit) provides full visibility into vulnerabilities and potential threats. On the downside, it will likely lead to more investments into new or different licenses (upgrades) in order to secure processes. Choosing the provider wisely can help prevent high costs for investments and will ensure focus on those areas that could really cause problems for your organization.
What end users can do to avoid exposure and hacks
Employees are no longer free and clear when the company gets exposed to threats. Whether they might have accessed a site or downloaded something for a work capacity, or whether it was for personal use, the consequences remain the same. Securing systems to avoid this from happening is next to impossible. Some companies restrict access to social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. But social media is increasingly used for business purposes as well. Moreover, no employee willfully endangers the company; but a phishing email is easily mistaken for real and if clicked while on the company network, it can have severe consequences. Education is key in the avoidance of malware, hacks, or ransomware.
Low bandwidth is still a thing as well
There are also less dangerous consequences to companies establishing a BYOD policy. Imagine watching or downloading apps, videos, or images and how this impacts bandwidth consumption. It might result in poor connectivity and increased buffering across the network. This can impact business if the poor connection results in a lower-quality video conference. It is possible to reduce bandwidth consumption while still allowing employees to use the corporate internet for personal use as well. It is the future. That is why it can be worth looking into other areas of optimizing use of both the WAN and LAN.
To resolve bandwidth issues, you may want to take a look at our print server consolidation software with direct IP printing. For ideas about other possible security measures and how you can implement them, contact LRS and we’ll be glad to help.