In recent years, numerous organizations have suffered a data breach because of employees bringing their personal devices to work. This “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy offers convenience to companies, but it also carries greater risk. Any form of data can leak if a device is lost or stolen, connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi network, bought from an unsecured third-party vendor, or installed with an unsecured third-party app. To protect your company, here are some of the common risks brought on by these personal devices.
1. Unsecured connections
Most of the time, companies offer a secure Wi-Fi connection for employees to access the company network, but sometimes this does not work out. Some employees still try to connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network, which is one of the most common ways for them to leak corporate data. When employees connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network, they can expose themselves to many dangers.
It is true that an unsecured Wi-Fi network is free to use, but anyone in the proximity can access your machine and the data you have stored on it. Also, if you use an unsecured Wi-Fi network to access risky sites, such as adult sites, you will increase your risk of getting a virus or malware.
2. Lost or stolen devices
This is one of the most common reasons why companies lose control of their data. If an employee loses a device, it may be used by someone else. This can result in unauthorized access to confidential corporate data, which can be leaked to an external source. A lost device can also be stolen by an external source, and the data can be used for illegal purposes.
3. Bought from unsecured Third-Party vendors
Many third-party vendors will sell you a device at a low price, and it is tempting. You don’t need to work for a multi-billion dollar company to purchase such a device. However, when you buy a device from an unsecured third-party vendor, you may be exposing your company to higher risk. You don’t know how the device has been treated in the past, who bought it from that vendor and what the device has been used for.
4. Unsecured Third-Party apps
If you allow employees to bring their own devices to work and try to allow them as much freedom as possible, you will have to allow them to install their own apps on the devices. According to a recent study, over 90% of mobile apps from Android’s Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store have at least one high-risk Ad library. High-risk Ad libraries can steal the device’s user information, such as email addresses and names.
5. Data storage in the Cloud
Most employees think that storing data on the cloud is safer than storing it on their personal devices, but if the cloud is not secured, this is not true. If someone gets access to your cloud storage, they can easily steal your data. Many companies are now using specialized storage solutions that encrypt data before sending it to the cloud. They use passwords and two-factor authentication to control access to the data.
Data leaks have become a common occurrence among many organizations. They can happen to any company, at any time. The best way to protect your company from data leaks is to have a solid information security policy and ensure every employee follows it.
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