Endpoint Security Debate: Should We Eliminate BYOD?

Endpoint Security Debate: Should We Eliminate BYOD?

Should enterprises eliminate BYOD (bring-your-own-devices) policies? Would that ultimately help or hinder endpoint security in the future? Is it even a possibility? 

Let’s back up. For years, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises began transitioning to BYOD policies en masse. To a certain extent, this made both practical and interpersonal sense. On the practical side, users/employees statistically work more efficiently on their personal devices, including their own laptops and mobile devices. On the interpersonal side, users feel more comfortable using those devices, fostering better feelings about their work. 

However, as businesses embraced this more free-form and open-ended kind of endpoint policy, they began to face new challenges. First, keeping a direct monitoring eye on all of the devices connecting to the network proved a hassle; Second, providing a consistent layer of cybersecurity across all of the myriad connecting devices provided a new challenge. Third, keeping track of where information ended up in such a decentralized network is a major security obstacle.  

Next-generation endpoint security works to solve many of these problems. But could enterprises simply eliminate BYOD and be done with it? 

It may and also may not be that simple. 

Should We Eliminate BYOD?

1. More Secure Devices Vs. Expense

An unaddressed trade-off involved in BYOD involves costs. Using BYOD means that employees use their own devices, which also means they purchase those devices independently; moreover, your users handle the costs of maintaining those devices personally. Depending on the size of your business, this could end up saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. 

In cybersecurity, sticking with only corporate devices also means a guaranteed layer of endpoint security on each device. Of course, the decision to eliminate BYOD also means paying for every device at company expense. Additionally, the loss of productivity and interactivity that comes with BYOD adds another consideration into the mix. 

In short, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

2. Can We Put The Genie Back in the Bottle

BYOD entered the cybersecurity conversation long before COVID-19 hit. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the acceleration of BYOD policies for many enterprises, changing both their IT environments and their cybersecurity needs in a stroke. 

While slowing down BYOD might have been possible in the past, it may not be possible now. Once the pandemic comes to an end, your enterprise may wish to revisit its BYOD policy. However, trying to retrain employees after a year of BYOD might not be worth the long-term costs of the project. 

Remember, employee buy-in represents a major contributor to endpoint security and cybersecurity optimization. If they don’t agree with your direction, they develop workarounds or just ignore your policies. 

Instead, the best solution might be to work within the new reality of cybersecurity. This means embracing BYOD for the foreseeable future. 

Yet this doesn’t need to leave your organization vulnerable. 

3. Next-Gen Endpoint Security to the Rescue 

Next-generation endpoint protection platforms can help solve many of the challenges posed by BYOD. First, EDR helps maintain greater visibility over all connected devices. In fact, it can also monitor the behaviors of connected devices, looking for deviations from normal baselines and thus signs of compromise. Second, most solutions provide Data Loss Prevention, which keeps data from being uploaded to mobile devices, cloud databases, or wherever else you choose not to host your information. Above all, it offers the necessary protections to keep all connected devices secure.

To learn more, why not check out our Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide. 

Ben Canner
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