Bring your own device (BYOD) is growing increasingly popular and, as such, businesses are investing in employee training on security best practices and taking steps to ensure workers are adhering to company policy. Unfortunately for companies embracing BYOD, even employees with good intentions can create data vulnerability.
More than half of smartphone owners connect those devices to unsecured wireless networks, according to Cisco’s “BYOD Insights 2013” study. In some cases, employees may forget their phones are set up to automatically connect them to available WiFi and subsequently access sensitive company information without even realizing they are creating security risks. That scenario can be particularly damaging for organizations in heavily regulated industries—like healthcare or finance—that could be subject to massive fines for security lapses.
With even the most conscientious employees liable to make an occasional BYOD mistake, some companies choose to grant their employees access to only non-sensitive information from a personal device. But how can a business be sure that strategy is executed? What if an employee forgets the policy and tries to access confidential information from an airport hot spot as he or she waits to board a flight?
Fortunately these questions can be addressed with network monitoring solutions that can quickly drill down to the details for any node on the system in real time. With these products in place, engineers have a high-level view of the company’s network and can stop any unauthorized attempt to access sensitive material—even by a loyal employee.
Businesses are constantly faced with new security challenges they couldn’t have anticipated just a few years ago. BYOD is a fast-moving trend that snuck up on some companies, but reliable, effective tools built to meet these challenges do exist.
Download our white paper to learn more about the challenges of a BYOD environment.
The upside to the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and laptops is that they allow your employees to access important work-related information from just about anywhere, improving collaboration and productivity in the process. Personal mobile devices can also save your business money because you won’t have to lay out cash for company-specific mobile tools.
The downside to the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, however, is that anywhere, anytime access can create significant security concerns for both you and your customers. Efficient mobile communications are a necessity in today’s global marketplace. At the same time, companies must always be cognizant of what information employees are accessing on-the-go and how they are viewing it.
Fortunately for companies with dispersed workforces there are strategies and solutions that can severely limit BYOD risks. Let’s take a look at five critical ways companies can ensure their BYOD policies are as strong as possible:
- Go beyond device security: It’s important to maintain security protocol at the device level. It’s equally important to have visibility into the data traffic from these devices. Effective Network monitoring tools give engineers a high-level view, along with their associated traffic patterns, of every node on the network at all times.
- Run a pilot program: There is no way to fully anticipate the problems you’ll run into when you launch a new protocol. That’s why running a trial program is crucial. Pilots allow your company to encounter and solve actual issues as they crop up, rather than just hypothetical scenarios.
- Invest in training: Employees can’t be expected to abide by BYOD policies they don’t fully understand. Nothing will prepare your workforce for the rigors of remote work quite like teaching them exactly how your company would prefer they use their devices, as well as covering what should remain off-limits.
- Involve all company departments and stakeholders: Network security affects every department, from billing to HR to customer service. A data breach in any of these divisions can wreak havoc across an entire organize. Employees in these departments need to understand that network security is everybody’s job, not just IT.
- Consider all industry requirements: As mobility proliferates, many regulations are continually put in place to keep it a safe space. Ensuring your company is up-to-date on the latest requirements will stave off many future issues. It’s especially vital that companies also understand their own verticals and the regulations—like HIPAA laws for healthcare, for instance—with which they must remain compliant to avoid fines and penalties.
Even when your company is on top of all these issues, it can never hurt to have a helping hand or a second set of eyes. For this reason, companies like WildPackets, who specialize in troubleshooting and wireless network forensics, can bring peace of mind to even the most forward-thinking organizations.
Click here to download WildPackets’ whitepaper on BYOD security for mission critical applications.
The people have spoken, and it seems that BYOD is here to stay. A recent Forrester Research study reports that 60% of workers use their personal mobile devices at work, with some organizations reporting that personal, user-owned devices exceed 75%.
This creates a nightmare for IT teams, who have little to no access to end-user devices. Real-time troubleshooting becomes incredibly difficult, and problems are often reported well after they occur (taking real-time analysis out of the equation altogether). Even more, the integrity of mission-critical applications like corporate data transactions are at risk, leaving organizations to question whether transactions were actually completed?
Forced to embrace BYOD, and subsequently lose control over corporate apps, how can organizations make sure their networks remain safe?
Wireless forensics solutions give wireless network engineers and security teams a complete recording of WLAN activity over hours or even days. Engineers can use wireless forensics to analyze traffic and instantly determine the root cause of an event, entirely removing guessing and problem reproduction from the equation. Effective wireless forensics provide these four key capabilities:
- Data Capture: Capture all wireless traffic, on every channel in use, at the source
- Network Recording: Store all WLAN packets, 24/7, for forensic analysis
- Search and Inspection: Enable administrators to comb through archived traffic for anomalies and signs of poor connectivity
- Reporting: Through data capture and analysis, results of investigations are logged and network vulnerabilities are reviewed and analyzed post-mortem.
Perhaps most importantly, wireless forensics solutions capture data 24/7 and automatically analyze all data collected, which means all the data you need for analysis is available at a moment’s notice. Whether the problem with your mission-critical app is across the room or across the world, wireless forensics gives you immediate access to the most detailed analytics available to get to the root cause of an issue.