BYOD is not just a BBQ buster

The risks involved in bringing your own device to work.


Hands up if you have a smartphone or tablet device like an iPhone, Android, or Windows phone? Hands up if you’re reading this article on one? If so, you’re not alone. At last count, there are 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide. 

These days the majority of people in the workplace own a smartphone and often the line between personal use and professional use is blurred. For instance, if you access your work email on your phone, or take notes during meetings on your tablet, then you have what is called a BYOD or Bring Your Own Device.

It’s convenient and you can claim it on your tax. No big deal right? But how often do you think about the confidential nature of the information you're accessing on your device?  These days there is so much company information that is stored or can be accessed and it’s very important to keep these devices secure. Luckily, it’s not that hard to do.

Lost or stolen devices

Did you know that 1 in 3 mobile devices are either stolen or lost by their original owner? While the resell value of the device is high, sometimes the data on it is more valuable.  Make sure you put a password lock your device! Less than 40% of users enable the passwords on their mobile devices, with most claiming that it’s too much of a hassle.  

While you’re at it, enable the "Find Your Device" feature available on most mobile operating systems. If you lose device you can sign in to the cloud, see exactly where your device is and if you want to, you can wipe the device remotely.

Dodgy apps

For every five minutes we spend on our smartphones, four of them are spent using apps. Sadly, hackers are aware of this too and have turned to using malware in apps as a way of accessing your information. These apps look legitimate and often mimic other well-known apps but are designed to steal your data and sometimes give control of your device to the app developer.  

The best way to protect yourself is to only download apps from trusted marketplaces, like Apple's iTunes and Android's Google Play stores. They filter apps before they’re allowed in the marketplaces, minimising the chance of your device being infected.

Non-operating system

Regardless of the operating system (OS) you prefer, no software is perfect and they can often have security flaws—as shown in the recent release of iOS 7, where opportunistic hackers were found to be exploiting these flaws to gain control of people’s devices. This is why companies like Android and Apple release OS updates or ‘patches’ to fix such issues. However, statistics show that almost two thirds of all devices aren’t up-to-date, exposing the user to a range of security risks.

It is really important that you update your phone whenever new OS releases are available to remove any of the security flaws and prevent hackers from exploiting the holes in a device that hasn’t been updated.