Old Devices Can Compromise Security

As a responsible business owner, you know that using the latest technology and running updated software is a key component to your company’s network security. However, your employees may not value the latest tech like you do, which could result in a major data breach, despite your best efforts to keep your company current.

Having your organisation’s data compromised due to staff using older technology is one of the many security risks associated with BYOD (bring your own device). This isn’t to say that BYOD isn’t worth doing. There are many benefits that come with BYOD, like increased mobility, team collaboration, and employee satisfaction. In order to take advantage of these benefits, you must first make sure you’re covering all of your BYOD risks–like employees using older tech.

Why would an employee put your business at risk by clinging to their old technology? For many workers, it’s not that they intentionally want to put your data at risk, but rather, they may simply not be aware that their favorite old-school device is a problem. Or worse, they may not care about your company’s BYOD security measures, especially if it means having to upgrade their device.

Take, for example, an employee who loves using their outdated Windows XP laptop. Sure, they got the memo about the importance of upgrading from Windows XP because Microsoft no longer supports it and it’s now a major security risk, but for some reason, they haven’t yet upgraded and they continue to bring their crusty laptop into the office and use it to access your company’s files. As far as the security of your business is concerned, this flagrant disregard for network security is no different than leaving the front door to your office unlocked at night–an offense that would result in a disciplinary action against any guilty employee.

Perhaps one reason why an employee doesn’t feel pressure to upgrade their BYOD tech is because it’s so easy for them to get away with using their older equipment. They may continue to use the same outdated laptop they’ve used since the first day you hired them, and they may write off your warnings as bogus because, “My laptop hasn’t caused any problems yet, so I don’t see why it will cause any problems in the future.”

This excuse simply doesn’t fly for technology because using outdated technology becomes riskier to use as time goes on. This is due to hackers finding more vulnerabilities with older equipment, especially when the technology is unsupported by the manufacturer–like Windows XP’s current situation.

If sending out a memo with a list of devices your company’s network doesn’t support isn’t cutting it, then you can take measures into your own hands using your network’s mobile device manager (MDM). Utilising an MDM for your business will allow you to control features on BYOD devices like:

  • Disable a device’s camera.
  • Restrict a device to only connect to specific WiFi networks.
  • Control information that’s sent to the device’s clipboard.
  • Setup password complexity policies.
  • Prevent particular files from being edited or printed from a device.
  • Restrict a device entirely from accessing the network.

Using a solution like MDM, a clueless employee will bring in their old device, try accessing your network with it, only to have their device be automatically denied. When they come to you complaining about their trusty device not working, that’s the perfect time to educate them on the perils of using an outdated device to access company files–as well as to suggest the need for them to upgrade their tech. A conversation like this will actually be doing them a favor because it will motivate them to upgrade their personal tech, which will help to better secure their own personal data.

In many areas of life, it pays to be frugal and get the most use possible out of major purchases. However, there’s a big difference between driving a 20-year old car and using a laptop that’s just as old. When it comes to technology, it’s important for your company’s data security that you’re not using outdated tech. You will also want to make sure that all of your network’s access points are being properly managed and monitored.

Technetics Consulting can help upgrade your organisation’s technology, as well as remotely monitor your network for any suspicious activity. Call us at 1300 853 453 to learn how we can make your technology work for you!

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