All over the business world there is a debate raging about the pros and cons of bring your own device (BYOD) strategies.
On one hand, businesses like the fact that it can potentially reduce the cost of hardware and software for the company. Also, many employees appreciate the additional freedom of being able to use their own phone at work which can lead to additional productivity.
However, not all employers want BYOD for their business. Those who oppose using these strategies often cite concerns about the security risks or the fact that their company IT infrastructure will not integrate well with “bring your own technology” policies.
This leads to the question – is it even possible to stop employees from bringing and using their own devices at work?
Unfortunately, when businesses try to block bring-your-own-device practices, they open their organization to a world of different IT challenges. SC Magazine reports that when employees are not given legitimate access to their company network and servers, they will look for an illegitimate way to connect their devices.
This does not mean that the employees have nefarious goals in mind. They typically are not trying to extract sensitive company data or do any damage to the system.
Generally, they simply want to be able to connect their personal device and be able to access the Internet, perhaps just to check their e-mail. Younger generations especially might just be sneaking off to check their Facebook page numerous times throughout the page.
Employees attempting to get around BYOD bans in the office are not sophisticated hackers looking for ways to damage the network, but that is what the result can be. People who want to use their smartphones, tablets and laptops at work will often look for different ways to access the network until they find a loophole. Through this process, they can do unintentional harm.
The most common problem that occurs when an organization has a BYOD ban is that employees will bring in their private devices and use their company credentials to connect to the company server. Many security measures used by companies only authenticate the user, not the device. Businesses will need to put in place additional security measures, such as machine certificates, to address this problem.
Employees may think that their actions are harmless, as they connect their tablet or smartphone to the company wireless network, but there are common issues that can be very hazardous to the business.
For example, when users connect a wireless device which does not have a LAN connection, they are frequently motivated to attempt to connect their home wireless access point to the company network, or their device may automatically try to do this.
When this happens, the end result is that anyone who wishes to access the company network can do so if they are within range of the wireless signal. This can obviously be extremely problematic in urban locations where there could be many people and entire buildings close by, able to access the network easily, gaining the opportunity to gain confidential information.
It is understandable that businesses may not want to implement a BYOD policy. These organizations must be prepared, however, to increase security measures to reduce the risks that accompany bans on the use of personal devices.
If you would like to learn more about the potential risks that mobile devices pose for your business, contact us today.