Bring Your Own Device or Bring Your Own Virus?

IT security teams are fighting two battles, the external threats, and the internal vulnerabilities. Cyber defense budget for a typical company nowadays has grown steadily in order to cover both bases. However, the IT teams are at the crossroad of deciding what to prioritize between employee convenience (thus their productivity) versus the security checks and policies in place to protect the IT infrastructure of the organization.

The two fronts are not mutually compatible, increasing the level of security means more checks, a higher level of regulation on how to use corporate computers and gadgets, which promotes inconvenience to the users. Employees will continue to find ways to increase their productivity in the face of tighter regulation, even if they end up shouldering the cost. That is how BYOD (AKA Bring Your Own Device) became prevalent in the enterprise.

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A personal device is very user-friendly and convenient for the users, as they configured it to their liking and know how to use its full potential, anywhere and anytime. This is a huge contrast to corporate gadgets that are tightly locked down, with the do's and don'ts guidelines staring the users into submission or else a penalty will be imposed against them.

BYOD's flexibility cannot match a company-issued device. Companies are starting to realize that with employees voluntarily using their personal electronic gadgets in the office lessens the cost of the organization for the short term. Even corporate executives are the driving force of the BYOD revolution, as they use their own iOS-based or Android-based smartphones for business calls and correspondence and ditching their security-locked Blackberry-based devices.

The rise of BYOD is a nightmare for IT security teams. The mobile device market is flooded with smart devices ranging from ultra cheap to crazy $1,000+ device. There is no practical way to fully close the borders of the corporate network from external devices. As employees bring their device to the office environment, is another opportunity for "Bring Corporate Confidential Data Home" and "Bring Your Own Virus" scenarios.

In order to help IT Support Professionals, the following tips can help them with answering the BYOD Challenge:

  • No Encryption, no access
    The company has all the legal rights to protect its information from outside access. With BYOD, corporate-issued laptop and mobile smartphone are left in the office lockers while employees are using their personal devices instead. However, compared to the office equipment, personal devices cannot be locked down through corporate means, like using the Windows Group Policy or profile management. This can be remedied by the No encryption, no access policy. Before granting corporate network access, the BYOD devices must be encrypted first by the user. Encryption scrambles the data stored in the device, hence in the event of a device theft or loss, the data stored in the device cannot be accessed by someone else.
  • A policy to wipe corporate data before an employee officially leaves the organization.
    IT security team must be informed when an employee is about to leave the organization. This will allow them to check the device for residual corporate data that was left behind, and the company has all the legal rights to demand deletion of the data stored on employees' devices.
  • Segregate corporate profile from the personal profile
    Modern versions of mobile operating systems allow the creation of a separate profile for work and play. IT teams need to communicate with the user to strictly access corporate systems using the work profile in their BYOD devices. This will also simplify the separation procedure, as the employee will just delete the corporate profile from her phone once she leaves the organization, and all the associated corporate data and settings are also purged from the device.
  • When the employee's BYOD device is in a remote location, IT service teams must only allow corporate connection through a VPN.
    This No-VPN, No Access policy is the biggest aspect to isolate the corporate network from external threats. Employees during their new employee orientation should be educated to use the corporate VPN software when they need to connect to the corporate network remotely. No exceptions.
  • IT Security teams need to implement a service-based antimalware and anti spam remover.
    This will block malware from even reaching the mailbox of the user, regardless if the employee is using a corporate device or a BYOD Device. An Anti Spam Remover can be hosted outside of the corporate premises. This is in order for the mail server to continue operating at optimal performance compared to a software anti spam remover that is installed on the same hardware as the mail server. The Anti Spam Remover from Comodo accomplishes the task of keeping both internal users and mobile users' mailbox safe from unwanted malware, phishing, and spam.

Comodo Anti Spam Gateway has an effective real-time anti spam remover engine powered by the Comodo Cloud. No hidden charges, pay as based-on how many PCs that need to be covered by the anti spam remover. Regardless of the device an employee uses for email, the anti spam remover works alongside the mail server hence it is transparent to the users.

The remote anti spam remover is basically an appliance that runs stealthily in the background and filters spam transparently for the users. The anti spam remover runs alongside the company's mail server, saving the limited system resources of the latter. Comodo Anti Spam Gateway's anti spam remover algorithm uses heuristics scanning for emails. It installs a special anti spam remover filtering system for those still suspiciously behaving file attachments.


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