How BYOD can effect security on enterprise networks

The popularity of Wi-Fi enabled devices such as smartphones and tablets is at its highest ever and continuing to grow. This has led many companies to adopt the policy of BYOD or Bring Your Own Device. Instead of employees only using company owned computers they can utilise their own smartphones and tablets by connecting to the company’s network. Although the BYOD policy has been seen to boost productivity as well as morale there are concerns over the possible security issues that may arise from it.

A survey by Avanade using a sample of seventeen countries found that 88% of executives admitted that their employees were using personal devices for business purposes. Another survey by Cisco stated that although 48% of companies would not allow employees to bring their own devices, 57% agreed that some employees were using their own personal devices without consent. These stats show just how important an issue BYOD is becoming in the business world. Even companies against the policy have to face up to the fact that there will be employees using their own devices without consent.

Although there are many benefits to BYOD there are also serious problems which may arise. One of the most common devices to connect to the company network is an employee’s smartphone. There are numerous infections that smartphones can have which become much more dangerous if transmitted to the company’s network. For example jail broken iPhones can become infected with a specific type of worm that once installed can receive commands from a remote user. There are also some incidences of mobile phones having malware preinstalled without the user knowing. As well as these threats there is the added problem of infected apps, emails and social networking links. If these malwares pass from the personal device over to the company network they could be used to damage systems as well as collect confidential data.

With the imminent release of Apples iPad mini the concept of BYOD is most likely to explode. The new mini iPad combines the business capability of the iPad in a much more user friendly size. The problem of security threats to business networks via personal devices is not going away. For a modern business to be completely secure in today’s ever changing technological environment it needs to be prepared for the threats that come along when personal devices are used.