Bitglass and Cybersecurity Insiders announced several findings from a report that show the rapid adoption of unmanaged personal devices connecting to work-related resources (aka BYOD) and why organizations are ill-equipped to deal with growing security threats such as malware and data theft.
The study surveyed hundreds of cybersecurity professionals across industries to better understand how COVID-19’s resulting surge of remote work has affected security and privacy risks introduced by the use of personal mobile devices. The insights in this report are especially relevant as more enterprises are shifting to permanent remote work or hybrid work models, connecting more devices to corporate networks and, as a result, expanding the attack surface.
“As mobility and remote work environments keep growing, so do challenges ranging from managing device access to handling urgent mobile security concerns,” said Holger Schulze, founder, Cybersecurity Insiders.
“Our research uncovered a plethora of evidence that shows organizations are not paying enough attention to securing unmanaged personal devices and why the time is now for them to think differently when it comes to securing BYOD.”
BYOD is here to stay
The shift to remote work amid the pandemic resulted in 47 percent of organizations reporting an increase of personal devices being used for work. As a result, a total of 82 percent of organizations said they now actively enable BYOD to some extent.
While the use of personal devices has helped businesses improve employee productivity and satisfaction, while also reducing costs, challenges associated with managing device access and mobile security remain.
Boosting BYOD security to prevent data loss/theft is a top concern
The most critical concern respondents expressed was data leakage or loss (62 percent).
Other apprehensions included users downloading unsafe apps or content (54 percent), lost or stolen devices (53 percent), and unauthorized access to company data and systems (51 percent).
Enterprises running blind when it comes to securing BYOD devices
Only 22 percent of organizations indicated they can confirm that unmanaged devices have downloaded malware in the past 12 months.
However, 49 percent indicated they are not sure or could not disclose whether the same could be said for them. This lack of visibility can be detrimental to the overall business.
Many organizations securing BYOD with old tools vs modern threats
A total of 41 percent of organizations reported relying on endpoint malware protection for BYOD—an approach that is not ideal for personal devices which are hard to control and manage.
30 percent of firms said they don’t protect against malware for BYOD at all. While cloud-based malware protection tools are often a far better fit, only 11 percent of organizations surveyed are currently using these measures.
“As enterprises begin to shift to hybrid work environments, personal devices will provide the flexibility and remote access that employees require. This new way of working, however, will undoubtedly stretch the resources of security teams,” said Anurag Kahol, CTO, Bitglass.
“This is why there has never been a more important time for enterprises to seriously rethink their approach and secure all forms of communication amongst users, devices, apps, or web destinations.”