Mitigating BYOD risks with file sharing solutions
Feb 03, 2015
Unauthorized use of mobile devices and programs is becoming more common in businesses across industries. The consumerization of IT and the bring-your-own-device movement has driven employee expectations for leveraging their personal hardware for corporate purposes. However, if decision-makers ban BYOD or enforce an overly strict policy for the trend, it could drive workers to bypass these rules and use their own applications, putting online file sharing and essential data at risk.
Shadow IT has become a major threat to company operations, but if managers employ BYOD, they will gain back some control over their assets. According to recent research by Mojave Networks, of the 200 programs on an average device, there are typically nine permissions users must agree to, including access to passwords, documents and logins, BetaNews reported. With this type of information, attackers could easily compromise mission-critical data. While most workers believe that consumer-grade productivity apps are safe enough, the truth is that these programs often don’t have the security necessary to protect against a breach. Users must be aware of these dangers as half of applications have access to sensitive information, putting the files at moderate risk of theft and loss.
“The ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend is transitioning to ‘bring your own applications’ (BYOA) as users download more and more apps to share data, increase productivity and stay connected,” Garrett Larsson, CEO and co-founder of Mojave Networks, said. “If any application running on a mobile device connected to the network is insecure, it can put highly sensitive corporate data at risk.”
Dealing with shadow IT
While it does not seem that shadow IT practices will disappear over night, decision-makers can take steps to handle the threat appropriately. Dataquest noted that the lack of clear communication, need for simplicity and following the “everyone does it mentality” have kept shadow IT going. However, by addressing these issues, organizations will be able to regain oversight of important documents and other assets. Programs like secure file sharing can give users the functionality they want without sacrificing protection in the process. Many of these systems come with a degree of encryption capabilities and remote wipe features, ensuring that no unauthorized users can see essential data.
“Users use such under-the-radar software simply because they know it and are comfortable with it,” Dataquest stated. “And that helps them get their jobs done. In today’s hyper-competitive economy, they’ll do whatever it takes.”