BYOD and data security was one of the major topics discussed at the RSA Conference. The high interest in this topic stems from the unstoppable and growing BYOD trend in the workplace and the information security risks involved.
Multiple types of facilities such as financial institutions, government offices and health centers benefit from BYOD. Just to name one advantage: easy and remote access to work related documents and information, which allows for a quicker response; whether it serves the needs of managers or clients.
The problem with easy access is parallel to the potential it has for network and data breaches. Two of the factors that play a big part in the vulnerabilities of BYOD include network security and off the clock access to sensitive company data.
Issues: There are a set of regulatory and compliance laws that impose organizations to engage in information security planning at least to a minimum; if only the online world were that simple.
Individuals who breach company networks probe and look for vulnerabilities in the system; and they most likely look at what industry regulations are in place to prepare for the challenges they might face. On the other hand, businesses and organizations may feel that once they’ve implemented what they were told, they’re done. This isn’t the case.
Solutions: It is of the utmost importance for organizations to keep in mind that compliance isn’t the end of their information security efforts. The same way a potential hacker studies the network vulnerabilities of a healthcare facility or financial institution is what can best prepare a business entity against an attack.
Consistent investment and implementation of vulnerability scans and penetration testing help to avoid giving hackers the upper hand.
Off the clock access to sensitive company data
Issues: Businesses just love the fact that they can call on employees at any moment to request an emergency response. This is great, no doubt about it, but off the clock means relying on the device owner’s security system and network.
Solutions: Containment for off the clock access to company sensitive data can take place by limiting access to a set number of individuals. If this is not a feasible option, an additional step organizations can take is securing the devices and networks themselves.
In the long run, creating a secure data access environment for the use of BYOD in the workplace allows organizations to enjoy the perks of interconnectedness and remote access without the worry.
Awareness of BYOD information risk issues forces companies to acknowledge the necessity of regular network vulnerabilities scans if they want to maximize the BYOD trend in the workplace. There is no ‘band-aid fix’, but the cost benefits that come from being proactive outweigh the initial costs that come with setting up an information security plan.
Image Courtesy of Sean MacEntee