Companies are always trying to find new ways to operate more effectively while also providing their employees with convenient work options. As more companies allow their employees to work from home, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy has become increasingly popular. BYOD allows employees to use their own personal devices for work. Many employees like this because they have computers and tablets that they are already comfortable using. They also like BYOD because they only have to manage one device for their work and personal life. Companies also love this policy because they can cut costs drastically when they do not have to provide as many employee devices. While these are good things, these companies also need to keep in mind some of the risks involved in using BYOD.
One of the highest risks of BYOD is security. Utilizing a BYOD policy lowers the security of the organization as well as individual employees. Having employees use their own devices prevents the organization's information security department from having full control over the device. Typically, when an employee uses a work computer, the computer is configured to meet security policies. However, since employees are using their own devices, they cannot be configured this way, and new security requirements cannot be automatically pushed to the users.
Any employees departing from the company also pose a security risk when it comes to BYOD. Whether the employee was fired or they left on good terms, they likely have company data on their personal device. Companies can try enacting policies that state employees must remove company data once they depart, but there is no guarantee the data will be deleted. Moreover, even if employees delete the company data, anyone with digital forensic knowledge could easily recover it.
The last major security risk is an employee device getting malware. While this is a risk for most organizations, it is an even bigger risk for companies that use BYOD. Users download many different applications, which can result in them accidentally downloading malware. Since this is also the device they use for work, this becomes a security incident and can lead to a breach.
Overall, companies should work to find other solutions for employee convenience and for cutting costs. BYOD lowers the security posture of organizations and prevents organizations from having full control over employee devices. All companies should avoid this policy, if possible, and provide work devices for their employees.
Written by Blake Potter
Blake Potter is a Cyber Security Intern at TechGuard Security where he assists with security related tasks. He is currently a senior at Maryville University studying Cyber Security and plans on becoming a security analyst once he graduates. Blake has a background in IT Support, customer service, and Cyber Security support. In his free time, Blake enjoys working out, playing sports, and spending time with friends and family.