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3 Ways the Dangers of Social Media Can Affect Your BYOD Strategy

September 23, 2017

3 Ways the Dangers of Social Media Can Affect Your BYOD Strategy

For organizations looking to cut costs and improve productivity by adopting BYOD, security is often the biggest problem. When a business is aware of the security issues that BYOD creates, they can seem to raise insurmountable hurdles. Meanwhile, when a business is unaware of BYOD's unique security requirements (and doesn't have a knowledgeable reseller on hand to guide them through the BYOD adoption process), unaddressed vulnerabilities can lead to data breaches and security nightmares. And the dangers of social media are among the most pressing security issues that BYOD organizations must tackle. Here are three ways the dangers of social media impact BYOD strategy.

1. Viruses contracted during personal device use can compromise business apps

Back in the days before BYOD, the careful employee kept his personal applications on his personal devices and his business applications and data on his business devices. This shielded the enterprise from the consequences of a careless click during off hours. With BYOD, however, personal and business applications and data coexist on the same device, and that means that if an employee's social media surfing leads to the download of a virus or malware, that malicious software can compromise the business side of the device, too, leading to data loss or theft.

To prevent this, organizations should look into enterprise mobility solutions, like Citrix's XenMobile, that offer secure and containerized productivity and file storage and sharing applications for the business uses of BYOD devices. Such solutions provide additional layers of security to help shield corporate data from unwanted intrusion.

2. Malware can spread to the data center itself

Unfortunately, today's malicious software doesn't always confine itself to the endpoints on which it was downloaded. In fact, several recent high-profile corporate data breaches, including Target's and Home Depot's, have been found to be the result of malware making the jump into corporate backend systems and networks. What this means for the enterprise is that a risky click on a BYOD device could eventually lead to the downfall of data center security.

Endpoint security solutions that offer up-to-date antivirus and malware protection can help offset the risk to the backend by detecting known attacks and quarantining devices before they can infect the system. These solutions don't always offer optimal defense against unknown or zero-day attacks, however. For that, newer technologies such as sandboxing may be needed. Security solutions that offer sandboxing can protect against threats by preemptively executing software in an isolated "sandbox," where malicious activity can run and be identified and analyzed without affecting any endpoints or critical systems.

3. Social engineering requires strong user education and password policy

Many of the dangers of social media can be addressed through a technology-focused approach, but social engineering, in which scammers con unwary users into giving up their login credentials (or information that can be used to guess or get those credentials) is another matter. Social engineering doesn't rely on malicious software to gain its ends, but rather on end user carelessness.

To combat this, user education and strong password policies must be implemented as part of a corporation's BYOD strategy. End users must know that using the same logins and passwords for multiple personal and business accounts makes it easier for scammers to access their accounts, since if one gets compromised, the rest will, too. And password policies that require authentication best practices like strong passwords and periodic password changes must be implemented and enforced to further cut down on the risk of account compromise.

What are some other dangers of social media, and how do you advise your BYOD customers to address them? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.