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BYOD and Cloud Computing: Business Champions or Data Breach Risks?

Posted May 05, 2015 by Lynn Brown

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BYOB and cloud computing are two of the most significant workplace trends of the decade and research indicates that’s not going to change any time soon.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) refers to companies allowing employees to bring their own smart phones, tablets, etc., to the workplace, and to use them for work. There’s an obvious cost-saving benefit, and employees love the freedom to choose.

Cloud computing refers to companies using hosting services that are provided over the internet. Along with infrastructure savings, companies can use as much or as little storage as needed and can access information any time and from anywhere.

Of course, it’s not just large organizations driving these two trends. Small businesses – National Small Business Week is happening this week in the U.S. – are expected to be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020 (up from 37% in 2014), according to an Emergent study. Almost 62% of U.S. small businesses had a BYOD policy already in 2013, according to iGR.

But while BYOD and cloud computing are touted as smart business choices, they’re also being flagged as huge security risks.

An article at csoonline.com reported that in a poll nearly one-third of IT professionals said information protection would be a top priority over the next few years, in large part due to the popularity and risks of BYOD and cloud computing.

According to a BT study, more than two-thirds of global organizations have been affected by mobile security breaches in the last 12 months.

An IBM-sponsored Ponemon study showed that at any given time malicious code is infecting more than 11.6 million mobile devices.

At the same time, as more companies use cloud services the cloud has overtaken databases and file servers as the top risk storing sensitive information, according to the Insider Threat Report by data security provider Vormetric. The poll found that 46% of IT decision makers in the U.S. see cloud computing as a top risk.

BYOD Security Solutions

  • Introduce a comprehensive BYOD policy and educate employees about security risks and work habits that safeguard information.
  • Use specialty mobile security solutions that protect corporate data and access to corporate systems – but also respect a user’s privacy.
  • Use the latest smart phone data security. The most common, according to the BYOD & Mobile Security Report, are password protection, remote wiping of data, and encryption.
  • Encourage employees to use the company’s secure network. Bitdefender research showed that while 71% of employed Americans can connect to a secure network provided by an employer, only half of them do.

Cloud Data Security Solutions

  • Don’t store really sensitive information in the cloud, according to an article posted at cio.com.
  • Be clear about your supplier’s cloud data security capabilities. Identify which cyber security responsibilities they will handle and which ones will remain with your organization.
  • The cio.com article recommends an ‘encrypted’ cloud service where local encryption and decryption of files are provided in addition to storage and backup.
  • Utilize basic data loss prevention safeguards including secure passwords and encryption.

Don’t miss commonly overlooked information security practices such as destroying old hard drives. These kinds of safeguards are important too.


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