Data & Application Security in a BYOD World
Everyone wants their device of choice right there next to them 24/7. To an employer, however, that smart device is nothing more than a dagger posed to rip apart every shred of corporate security. This reality of modern business was highlighted by the Information Security Community on LinkedIn through their 2016 Spotlight Report on “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD). The key trends influencing enterprise BYOD and mobile security line up as follows:
- Increased employee mobility (63%), satisfaction (56%) and productivity (55%) dominate as the top drivers of BYOD. These employee related drivers are considered more important than reduced costs (47%).
- Security (39%) and employee privacy (12%) are the biggest inhibitors of BYOD adoption.
- 20% of surveyed organizations have suffered a mobile security breach, primarily driven by malware and malicious WiFi.
- Security threats to BYOD impose heavy burdens on organizations’ IT resources (35%) and help desk workloads (27%).
- Despite increasing mobile security threats, data breaches and new regulations, only 30% of organizations are increasing security budgets for BYOD in the next 12 months and 37% have no plans to change their security budgets.
These trends clearly highlight the need for enhanced data and application security in enterprise mobility and cloud computing. They also reinforce the burden of securing data, applications, and devices that is being placed on the employer. Looking solely from the employer’s point of view, the report also summarized the mobility security concerns as follows:
- 72% – Data leakage/loss
- 56% – Unauthorized access to company data and systems
- 54% – Downloading of unsafe apps or content
- 52% – Malware
- 50% – Lost or stolen devices
- 49% – Vulnerability exploitation
- 48% – Lack of control on endpoint security
- 39% – Infrequent software updates
- 38% – Compliance
These findings indicate that enterprise mobility is a very dangerous threat vector that can be ruinous to any business. Unmanaged or ungoverned use of devices can lead to loss of customers, loss of sales, and costly legal and financial fines. This truth led IBM to offer the following Ten Rules for BYOD:
- Create your policy before procuring technology: To effectively use mobile device management (MDM) technology for employee owned devices Policy must precede technology. Also note that these policies will have broad corporate-wide implications for IT, HR, legal, and security.
- Find the devices that are accessing corporate resources: Companies must completely understand the current landscape of mobile device usage. Doing this will require using a tool that can communicate continuously with your network environment and detect all connected devices connected.
- BYOD Enrollment for employees should be simple: Complexity tends to breed non-compliance. To address this issue, the BYOD program should use technology that allows for a simple, low touch way for users to enroll. The process should also concurrently configure the newly enrolled device.
- Configure your devices over-the-air: To optimize efficiency for both IT and business users, devices should be configured over-the-air. Policies to restrict access to certain applications should also be in-place.
- Help your users help themselves: A robust self-service platform that lets users perform the following functions should be made available:
- PIN and password resets
- Geo-locate a lost device from a web portal
- Remote wiping of sensitive corporate data
- Keep personal information separate from corporate data: Corporate apps, documents, and other materials must be protected if the employee decides to leave the organization. Personal email, apps, and photos, however, should be left untouched.
- Manage data usage: The organization should be able to track in network and roaming data usage on devices, generating warnings should a user goes over their data usage or stipend limit.
- Continually monitor devices for noncompliance: Devices should be continuously monitored for certain scenarios, and automated policies should be in place. A few common issues are:
- “Jailbreaking” or “rooting” a phone
- Use of unapproved applications (like Angry Birds) that don’t rise to the level that requires an automatic wipe of the device
- Providing a simple way to be alerted when a new OS is ready for installation and making it a self-service function.
- Enjoy the return on investment (ROI) from BYOD: Although BYOD shifts responsibility for purchasing devices to employees, it’s worth considering the big picture and long-term costs for your organization.
BYOD is now a corporate fact of life. If your environment includes traditional desktops and mobile devices, your organization may also need to consider working with a partner that has the specialized IT skills to migrate, integrate and maintain all types of IT network endpoints. IBM Mobile Virtualization Services should be considered as that partner in order to ease mobile user and application migration issues. Available services include:
- Mobile device management
- Application security assessments
- Application testing services
- Application source code security assessments; and
- Embedded device security.