BYOD security is the set of tools used to reduce risks from bring your own device (BYOD)—the practice of using a personal device, instead of a company-issued one, for work purposes. Any desktop or mobile device, from a laptop to a smartphone, can be used for BYOD. These BYOD endpoints may connect to company networks, hardware, and software—and cause significant security risks.
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BYOD security is two things:
Effective BYOD security requires security personnel, processes and tools to work together to consistently secure devices, protect sensitive information, and prevent data breaches. It should also be a form of adaptive security, with changes in access levels that correspond to changes in device security postures. These key elements should be crystallized into a BYOD policy that defines:
In terms of how security teams and IT departments enforce BYOD policies, many cybersecurity options are available. Common options include:
BYOD security is important because BYOD itself is a widespread practice, especially in the context of increasingly popular remote and hybrid working environments. Each personal employee device connecting to a corporate application or WAN is a potential liability if not properly secured.
Securing access to critical applications is a central requirement—and a major challenge—in BYOD security. Employees need to use a range of cloud, SaaS, web, virtual and other applications during the course of their work, often on mobile devices. Moreover, they must do so from a variety of locations—not just within an office, but from their homes and on the go, too.
Access must be secure and granted based on contextual information, for instance, as part of a ZTNA approach. At the same time, employee productivity needs to be preserved. That means that any set of BYOD security controls has to be streamlined as well as airtight.
Overall, proper BYOD security is integral to ensuring that BYOD pros outweigh its obvious cons. BYOD has inherent risks (cons) due to the fact that employees own the hardware in question and have more discretion over how it’s used. But the right BYOD security solutions can make each BYOD personal device safe enough for corporate use, while also providing extra convenience and comfort for employees (pros).
Benefits of BYOD include:
Malware can infect BYOD hardware when employees do not keep their software up to date or regularly use risky applications. This malware can in turn steal sensitive company data or, in the case of ransomware, encrypt critical information and make the OS on a personal device virtually unusable unless the attackers get paid.
A personal computer or mobile device being used for BYOD can easily be lost or stolen. In this case, the sensitive corporate data on it may be at risk of compromise. Most lost devices are never recovered, either. A BYOD policy must make provisions for such scenarios, by encrypting information at rest when applicable and creating mechanisms for remote wiping of data.
When out of the office, employees will still need to access applications of all types from a mobile device or other personal hardware. Unfortunately, they might choose to do so over an unsecured network like public Wi-Fi, or one with a weak password. Even a VPN might not provide complete protection since it isn’t contextual and offers unfettered access that could precipitate a breach.
A BYOD security strategy needs to combine a clear, comprehensive BYOD policy with a specific security solution for controlling how BYOD users access corporate applications and data. There are four key components necessary for securing BYOD devices.
Learn how SASE architecture helps ensure the security of BYO and unmanaged devices.
As core components of Citrix’s unified SASE solutions, Citrix Secure Workspace Access and Secure Internet Access enable organizations to take all of the four key steps above en route to superior BYOD security.