What is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs allow employees to work from their own personal devices rather than a company-provided system. BYOD policies can cover the use of employee-owned laptops and mobile devices.

Adoption of BYOD policies surged during the COVID-19 pandemic when employees were forced to work from home, and corporate laptops and mobile devices were scarce. Many organizations have seen the benefits of these policies and elected to support them indefinitely; however, they do come with both their advantages and disadvantages.

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What is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?

Benefits of BYOD

BYOD policies allow employees to choose the devices that they use for work. This provides several benefits to a company and its employees, including:

  • Improved Productivity: BYOD policies have been found to boost worker productivity as employees are more efficient working from their preferred devices.
  • Better Devices: In-house IT staff may have difficulty keeping up with the fast pace of evolving technology, but workers more frequently upgrade personal devices and adopt new technologies. BYOD policies enable an organization to use more up-to-date technology without significant IT spending.
  • Streamlined Onboarding: New employees do not need to be trained to use their own devices, and IT staff have policies and processes in place to secure BYOD devices. This enables new employees to more quickly get to work after joining the company.
  • Employee Satisfaction and Retention: BYOD policies tend to create increased employee job satisfaction and retention. BYOD enables more flexible work arrangements, which have become a major incentive for job candidates.
  • Fewer Devices: With BYOD, employees do not need to have separate corporate and personal devices. This eliminates the hassle of carrying multiple phones and other mobile devices and reduces the probability that a device is accidentally left behind, lost, or stolen.

Disadvantages of BYOD

While BYOD policies have their advantages, they can also create challenges for an organization. Some of the major cons of a BYOD policy include:

  • Potential Data Breaches: BYOD policies allow employees’ personal devices to access and store potentially sensitive corporate data. This can lead to a data breach if these devices are lost, stolen, compromised or if corporate data is not removed from personal devices as part of the offboarding process.
  • Lack of On-Device Security: Personal devices may lack firewalls, antivirus, and other vital endpoint security solutions. As a result, these devices may be vulnerable to compromise, which allows an attacker to exploit their access to the corporate network and business applications.
  • Complex Attack Surface: With a BYOD policy, an organization’s security team may need to protect a wide variety of devices. This can add to security complexity as different devices have different potential vulnerabilities and attack vectors.
  • Employee Distractors/Dual-Use Devices: Employees will have personal applications installed on personal devices, such as games, social media apps, etc. The availability of these apps and the fact that they are personalized to an employee’s interests can distract attention from work. Having personal applications installed alongside business ones also increases the probability that corporate data or apps will be exposed to malware or other malicious content.
  • Privacy vs. Security: With BYOD, organizations must balance the need to secure the organization with an individual’s right to privacy on their personal devices. BYOD may provide inappropriate access to sensitive information or leave the organization blind to potential threats.
  • Multi-User Devices: An employee’s family, friends, etc. may have access to their personal devices. This means that unauthorized users may be able to gain access to corporate data, applications, and other resources.

Regulatory Non-Compliance: Data protection laws commonly require that an organization have certain security controls in place and restrict access to protected data. BYOD policies may make it more difficult for an organization to achieve and demonstrate compliance with applicable

The Importance of BYOD Security

BYOD policies can help to improve corporate efficiency and productivity, as well as increase employee job satisfaction and retention. However, these benefits can come at the cost of security if a BYOD policy is not carefully designed and implemented.

Some of the security risks of failing to implement BYOD security solutions include:

  • Lack of Security Visibility: With BYOD, devices containing sensitive corporate data and accessing company resources are moving on and off the corporate network. Without an on-device security solution, it is impossible to maintain comprehensive and cohesive security visibility.
  • Increased Endpoint Risk: Employees’ personal devices rarely come with enterprise-grade endpoint security solutions. As a result, malware infections and other cyberattacks are easier to perform and more difficult to detect.
  • Complex Incident Management: With BYOD, corporate security incidents can occur on personal devices that are located at an employee’s residence or other alternate work locations. This can delay and complicate incident response, increasing the impact of a security incident.

Check Point Solution for BYOD Security

BYOD policies and remote work are here to stay for many companies. Learn more about how to protect your company and employees in the Ultimate Guide to Remote Workforce Security.

Check Point Harmony provides the tools that companies need to secure their employees regardless of their location and the devices that they use to do their jobs, including endpoint and mobile security solutions and secure remote access provided via SASE. To learn more about meeting your organization’s BYOD security needs with Harmony, sign up for a free demo.

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