As mobile devices continue to flourish, many workers are using their own devices at work and more companies are implementing BYOD policies. Just as IT security specialists start to get a decent grip on securing employee-owned mobile devices, employees have introduced another threat: bring your own network (BYON).
According to a computerworld.com article, employees have begun bringing their own wireless hotspots and other networking devices to work, which could be an even greater threat to IT security than mobile devices. Although some companies may not allow employees to access the company’s internet service with their mobile devices and tablets, employees can bring their own network to skirt around the issue.
Employees that bring their own networks find the practice useful because it can allow them to run apps in three different cloud-based environments at the same time. They can use their own network, a contracted network and the corporate network simultaneously.
The problem is that when employees bring their own network, they spread company data across disparate third-party networks, which can introduce new threats and more obstacles for IT staff to contend with. Smaller companies can do very little to keep data sharing or theft from occurring over networks they don’t control. Jim Kunick, attorney with Chicago law firm Much Shelist, explains that IT companies can’t ensure security when “people are running corporate apps and processing corporate and client data using networks that may or may not be secure.”
There are a few things companies can do to stop this problem. First, a company can simply ban employees from using personal networking devices at work. Some companies encrypt corporate data and use firewalls to keep employees from bringing their own devices. This ensures that employees use the company network with company provided devices.
Another solution is for businesses to have extra secured wireless networks that employees can access with personal devices. This allows them to use one network with company computers, and another that limits the amount of information available to devices brought in by employees, thereby maintaining a company’s control over its data, and allowing employees to use their personal devices at work.
Another option is to have employees sign contracts related to wireless devices. These contracts will hold employees personally accountable for any lost data or threats introduced to the company system because of their devices. Hopefully, if employees are held responsible, they’ll take the necessary precautions when it comes to using their own networks and bringing their own devices.
Any access to a company’s network that isn’t monitored by the company may not be secure. It’s important to ensure that all access to the company network is approved, and that company data doesn’t pass through unsecure networks.