BYOD Presents Security Threats To Public Sector IT

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)—where employees choose and buy a device (usually a smartphone) to use at work—continues to trend upward in the commercial sector, but is less common in the public sector. With BYOD already in place, you may have seen benefits such as:

  • Reduced capital expenditures on buying, maintaining and upgrading hardware
  • Happier users who want freedom of choice to work on their favorite devices

Hopefully, you’re also addressing some of BYOD’s challenges, including less control over data, and greater risks from the loss or theft of devices. There's a lot of public data and trust at stake with allowing public employees to use their own device.

Restrict BYOD to Smartphones

No public agency wants to lose the trust of its constituents from network and data exposure and device theft. Consider the following points to balance user choice and flexibility, with optimal security and efficiency:

  • Where possible, restrict BYOD to user-owned smartphones
  • Embrace an enterprise mobility management platform such as MobileIron to simplify management of endpoint devices, or a mobile device management (MDM) solution like Microsoft InTune.
  • Restrict access only to specific IT-approved applications behind the firewall (in the office) to limit malware risk.
  • Evaluate whether a cloud access security broker (CASB) agent-less solution can give you better data visibility and control than your MDM suite.

Offer a Choice of Devices Issued by IT

Beyond smartphones, all user devices should be organization-owned and managed by IT under a program where you offer employees a choice of devices. In this way, not only do users get choice, but your organization still benefits from the enhanced security features and common productivity standards found in business-grade devices like ThinkPad and ThinkCentre.

  • Consider business-grade devices with the highest level of build quality, support services, security features and connectivity options. For example, access prioritized tech support and on-site servicing. Or achieve the highest security standards with hardware-based fingerprint readers which are much harder to hack.
  • Audit job roles in your organization to get user input on preferred device types. Today there are many types of device available, each with their own advantages for different worker roles.
  • Look for devices with Intel® Active Management Technology, which enables IT managers to discover, repair and help protect networked computing assets.
  • Simplify PC deployment with a solution like Advanced Deployment Services. This is a customizable self-install wizard that enables final configuration steps to be performed by your end users instead of a technician. Whether joining a domain, installing software, setting up printers or migrating data, you can empower your end users to self-serve and reduce the burden on IT admins.
  • Use Windows 10 Pro security features to help protect data in the event of a human error or if a device is lost or stolen. For example, Windows Information Protection helps prevent unauthorized or accidental sharing of company information and allows you to remotely delete business data from a lost or stolen device. BitLocker data encryption, supported by many ThinkPad and ThinkCentre devices, will encrypt all data on a device, ensuring it cannot be accessed by unauthorized users.
BYOD Presents Security Threats To Public Sector IT

As more people take advantage of BYOD policies... IT faces new requirements. Employees now need to be able to access the apps they rely on, on any device, without compromising security.

Faisal Iqbal, CTO of Public Sector at Citrix

HOW CAN WE HELP...

  • Offer employees and contractors more choice with our wide range of devices. Each has the support services and security features needed for business. For example, users can access prioritized tech support and on-site servicing.
  • Simplify PC deployment with Advanced Deployment Services. Whether joining a domain, installing software or migrating data, this service enables end users to setup and customize devices themselves, reducing the burden on IT.