BYOD porn embarrassment a ticking time bomb for UK businesses

Many companies are introducing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes to their working practices.

Despite the numerous benefits this offers, many businesses are still not equipped with the necessary protection to implement these schemes in the right way.

Understandably, businesses want to give staff access to devices which can improve productivity and mobility, but they need to ensure these are equipped and updated with the latest technology to secure corporate networks from increasingly complex threats.

According to a recent survey of 2,000 UK workers by Elitetele.com, 21 per cent had accessed pornography and/or adult websites on a personal device which was also used for work. Alarmingly, 25 per cent claimed they were unaware visiting such websites could lead to their device being infected by malicious viruses or bugs that could compromise the data on their device.

Opening such a gateway in to a business can have severely damaging effects on its ability to operate, particularly since 24 per cent of women and 21 per cent of men admitted they would be too embarrassed to inform their employer if a breach of security had indeed happened as a result of accessing such content.

With 7 per cent of both sexes claiming they would only disclose this information after one week and 2 per cent within a month, in this time a business could be severely compromised by cyber criminals who have the opportunity to peruse poorly secured corporate networks at leisure.

Coupled with Gartner’s findings that a quarter of business users admitted to having had a security issue with their private device, it is clear more needs to be done to manage BYOD schemes effectively.

The following tips can help any business seamlessly implement an effective program whilst ensuring security and compliance remain at the centre of the process:

  1. Policies and compliance - BYOD can lead businesses to violate rules, regulations, trust, intellectual property and other critical business obligations. A key aspect of a BYOD implementation is having guidance through these areas. Before deciding on any technology or systems, organisations first need to be clear on objectives and policy priorities. A competent consultant or BYOD partner should be able to provide assistance with procedures, policies and employee usage agreements as part of the service offered.
  2. Access important data anytime anywhere – With employees increasingly needing to access business content on the go, businesses need multi content delivery capabilities managed centrally. Establishing data loss prevention controls to protect all documents from unauthorised distribution; mobile content management can ensure a range of preventative features.
  3. Manage devices connected to the network – With multiple devices connecting to the corporate network, without a comprehensive strategy and the correct technology in place, BYOD can potentially expose companies to increased costs, security risks and operational issues. By implementing a mobile device management strategy businesses can monitor exactly what devices are configurable to access secure, corporate data.
  4. Manage emails by separating personal from corporate – For more and more businesses supporting a fast growing mobile device fleet securely is a key concern. Having a mobile email management solution in place enables organisations to enforce control policies from device encryption and device blocking, to ensure business data is never accessed by any unauthorised bodies and that any email attachments are opened in approved only applications.
  5. Mobile device expense management - A Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution can be utilised to control costs associated with data usage and optimisation of inclusive bundles on corporate liable devices. Although there are variations by operating system, businesses can control usage of call types that are outside the inclusive call bundle such as 118 directory enquiries, premium rate services and international dialling.
  6. Control mobile data costs – Using MDM this can be controlled centrally and non-business applications blocked either as a whole or by group. Another feature is the ability to remotely deploy Wi-Fi credentials so that devices connect automatically to Wi-Fi when located at corporate facilities. This saves mobile data allowance and also allows the organisations to keep control of Wi-Fi credentials thereby protecting the network.
  7. Know who enters your business – For a business to be as secure as it can be today, a Unified Threat Management (UTM) facility is the best way to inspect all traffic entering and leaving an organisation. It can look within traffic to inspect the content and detect intrusion attempts anywhere. Its ability to control the corporate Wi-Fi access also makes it incredibly useful for mobile devices. It can be trusted to alert and notify 24/7, while constantly reporting back to the Network Operations Centre (NOC).

It is essential for businesses to put in place robust BYOD policies and consider additional security to not only safeguard against intrusions but also provide peace of mind that they have the best possible defence against cyber sleuths.

With 89 per cent of IT departments now supporting Bring Your Own Device initiatives, businesses can enjoy the transformative benefits offered by a more flexible and mobile working environment.

Russell Horton, COO, Elitetele.com.