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The Threats Looming Behind The Exciting BYOD Trends

by Raghubir Singh, Head-IT, Relaxo Footwears Limited September-2016

In this era where enabling mobile workforce is the need of the hour, organization need to mobilize and BYOD is one the easiest way to enterprise can mobilise but it is not secure.

The biggest issue with mobile devices is that they are not created, marketed or sold with the enterprise in mind so far. They are intended to be purchased by individuals for personal use, which has two distinct consequences: The vendors do not provide adequate enterprise management tools, and the account you create on the device for the user is essentially an administrative account. Indeed all the security incidents associated with these devices to date have been self-inflicted wounds perpetrated by users who installed malicious or insecure code onto their own devices and most of them come from freebees like games. 

With the increase of mobile device penetration, increase in smart features and high portability on devices makes it more vulnerable and easy targets for hackers and malwares as increasingly these devices are used to access, store and transfer valuable data.

Many organizations still underestimate mobile threats; resulting in serious gaps in information security programs. Many believe that mobile devices are incapable of being infected by malware. Others believe that only “jail-broken” or “rooted” devices are at risk. Even organizations that do understand the true scale of mobile device threats overlook some important mobile threat vectors. 

Every organization have to understand that whether they have given any business application to employees or not, mobile devices are getting connected to their internal network “Courtesy social engineering” and that is the biggest security concern. Organization has secured there parametric network using security devices/ solution but the mobile devices are becoming direct gateway for hackers to have easy access to your network. So this needs to be plugged in.

Understanding the Threat:
It is not easy as there is no fundamental in mobile device design and user practices as compared to computing devices. Some Android devices allow users to install apps from Web sites and third-party app stores, by default and some by enabling the “Allow third party software installation” feature. This feature, make the device more vulnerable by allowing malware to infect Android devices. Additionally, Android’s leading market share also makes it a top target for hackers. This does not means that Apple iOS devices are impervious to malware—the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) describes much vulnerability in Apple iOS as well.

Even applications that are created by reliable developers may pose a risk to some organizations as they automatically perform some task like open links, upload, download, or execute files that can provide ways for malware to infect traditional computing systems, even if the malware cannot specifically infect the mobile device. The malware does not need to infect the mobile device but can leverage the various functionalities of device / Apps to its advantage. At a minimum, these apps represent a possible avenue for unauthorized sharing of sensitive files.

The IT Oganization's Role in Mobile and BYOD Security
In light of the aforementioned threat vectors, organizations should carefully consider, even if they don’t have any business apps, proper measure to keep the personal mobile devices out of business network.

In case you are using business apps, then it is important to determine, and specify which devices, apps and mobile practices are permissible for corporate use and those that are not. IT organizations should educate their user communities by publishing their security policies, providing end user training, and requiring signed 
usage agreements. 

In many cases, these practices are insufficient. Consequently, many organizations should consider the value of the data that these devices are accessing. Then, depending on the organization’s risk posture, it should also consider deploying technology to ensure end user compliance with mobile access policies. 

Technology for Mobile Security
There are many approaches to mobile security. These include network-based security solutions, such as firewalls or Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions, or Mobile Endpoint Protection (MEP) solutions. 

Another important aspect of security is to use containerization, which help to segregate business data from personal data. This is valuable to both the organization and the employees, by ensuring that end user data privacy is maintained, and work productivity is not diminished.

Data loss, privacy breaches, and fraud caused by mobile threats affect both consumers and businesses. Whatever policies you have, employees and guests frequently connect their personal devices to corporate networks whether or not the organization allows this practice courtesy social engineering. As a result, the risk associated with these devices extends to corporations. 

Hence in the time of increasing demand of mobile devices and subsequently increase in threat levels, organizations must deploy proper technology solution and also spend valuable time to educate their user communities by publishing their security policies, making them aware about threats, its effects on individual and organization as whole and providing end user training about how to keep their mobile device safe ultimately to keep the organization safe.