Security Implications of Using Unmanaged Personal Devices in the Workplace 

by Talon Marketing
June 2nd, 2022

It’s not an exaggeration to state that employees are expected to use their personal endpoints for work. Today 95% of organizations allow personal devices to be used in some way. BYOD policies have grown in popularity along with remote connectivity and cloud infrastructure evolution. Business leaders remain interested in how BYOD can foster flexible work and bring cost savings yet have mixed feelings regarding its effectiveness.  

The main driver for BYOD expansion is the convenience of checking email on personal devices, says Dark Reading. Yet the most substantial security risks are associated with team members using their own devices to conduct employers’ business. Security teams have accepted the challenge while also realizing that BYOD policies are a necessity. It’s one thing for an employee to bring a personal device to work and use it strictly for personal communications, but the most substantial security risks are associated with employees using personal devices to conduct business

For example, the risk became evident when workers began using personal devices to access secure company applications. As Forbes reported, “Companies that are serious about implementing BYOD must account for the fact that users are the weakest link in the security chain…” It became essential to assess and control risk by way of policies, in addition to understanding how it should be prevented and mitigated.  

Along with any technological evolution, there are generational and cultural changes related to BYOD. 61% of Millennials and 50% of workers age 30+ believe their personal tech tools are more productive than those used for work, says Dell. With the pandemic accelerating work from home practices, personal devices became the de facto reality. Most businesses use VPN solutions to extend trusted enterprise networks to their remote workers. Yet, VPN solutions were conceived to protect on-premises infrastructure and aren’t well suited for securing web apps and often add latency and impact user experience. 

The main BYOD challenge is reflected in security controls that enterprises can or can’t impose on their endpoints. Workers understand the need to secure their work environment, but resent violations of their privacy (that are also protected by law). And they don’t like employers managing or having rights over their personal devices. So how do organizations protect their applications, data, and intellectual property, while fostering productivity and aligning with privacy regulations?  

Unmanaged endpoints are, by design, a blind spot in security programs where there is no visibility and no way to ensure regulatory compliance or a robust security posture. The organization might provide licenses for endpoint protection solutions (e.g., EDR), but can’t enforce them on unmanaged devices. Other security mechanisms such as user credentials, MFA, and least privilege rights help reduce the attack surface, but are far from being the best solution.   

The TalonWork enterprise browser offers a fresh approach. It instils controls over unmanaged devices by protecting the browser—the main portal through which users access SaaS applications and corporate resources. Once the browser is quickly installed, without needing any admin rights, it is isolated from the remainder of the device and privacy concerns and other objections are eliminated.  

Strong security is easily enforced using existing user credentials—without taking full control of users’ devices or gaining access to their personal data. Built-in security controls ensure: 

  • Data loss prevention (DLP) 
  • Hardening against vulnerabilities 
  • Management layer provides deep visibility into in-app behavior and other telemetry 
  • Insights to help security teams address threats   

The TalonWork enterprise browser provides a safe pathway to balance unmanaged endpoints, employee productivity, and organization security requirements. By ensuring that all application access is granted only to those users originating via the secure TalonWork browser, it becomes their default browser of choice for everything work-related and solves the unmanaged device challenge in its entirety. 

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