Financial Services Rely on BYOD – How Do They Stay Secure?

Author: Kayla Stockdale/Monday, December 4, 2023/Categories: Business Internet, Business Security Services

Financial services firms are at a point of significant change. Mobile products and services now dominate their product roadmaps, where application speed and security are paramount. The new mobile-first product and service strategies rely heavily on the rapid response time of the IT team, customer service and customer response teams. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) helps in achieving a speedy response.  

Financial services firms rely on unified endpoint management (UEM), multi-factor authentication and Zero Trust technologies as part of their enterprise mobile management (EMM) business strategies. Their goal is to develop a Zero Trust security framework that protects every mobile device endpoint.  

Wondering how you can utilize BYOD in banking and the financial services industry? In this article, we’ll explore what BYOD is, BYOD benefits and how to mitigate BYOD risks. 

What is BYOD? 

So, what is BYOD and why is it important? BYOD is when employees use devices connected to the company's network and can access the information they need to accomplish their jobs. It includes potentially sensitive or proprietary information. 

Some personal devices used in BYOD include smartphones, tablets, laptops and USB storage devices. Employees have more freedom to conduct their daily tasks anytime and anywhere by using their own devices. It saves money for the company, but it comes with the ongoing challenge of maintaining strict security of proprietary information. 

BYOD allows workers to increase their productivity with an enforced company policy that ensures the highest level of security. 

The Role of Security in Compliance 

Many highly regulated industries must comply with industry, regional or governmental laws and regulations. The rules exist to maintain safety and compliance, and failing to comply with the authorities could have serious consequences that can result in heavy fines against organizations that violate the laws, including criminal liability due to willful negligence. 

Financial technology firms (fintech) involve working with companies in the finance and securities industry, like banks and investment brokers. The industry is highly regulated and requires extensive documentation for each transaction and communication. All transactions are recorded to verify the proper chain of custody and reduce or eliminate impropriety while ensuring market integrity. 

Risks 

Financial Risks  

In 2022, 16 fintech firms were fined more than $1.1 billion in penalties by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for "not following proper securities laws." Also, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) required the same firms to pay $710 million for failing to maintain, preserve or produce records required under the CFTC recordkeeping requirements and for "failing to diligently supervise matters related to their businesses" as registrants of the CFTC. 

The $1.8 billion penalties imposed against the fintech firms center on what the SEC called "pervasive off-channel communications" and "widespread use of unapproved communication methods." The companies admitted to lying to investigators and trying to hide the "longstanding failures by the firms' employees" from the investigation. 

"Finance, ultimately, depends on trust. The market participants were charged today having failed to maintain that trust by failing to honor their recordkeeping and books-and-records obligations," said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. 

Security Risks 

The most significant BYOD risks include technical challenges, security and privacy. Technical challenges involve connecting to WiFi, accessing network resources like shared files or printers and addressing device compatibility. Companies are more concerned with corporate data security, while employees are more concerned about personal data.  

Common BYOD security risks include: 

  • Local exposure  
  • Data leakage 
  • Data loss 
  • Public exposure 
  • Insecure usage 
  • Malicious apps 
  • Rogue apps 
  • Cross-contamination  
  • OS-specific security 
  • Insider attacks 

Employee Privacy Risks 

As BYODs access company servers and networks, employers are primarily interested in whether employees' actions can compromise the company's security. Each company devises its policy regarding using social media. 

Litigation 

All employees' mobile devices may be subject to a discovery request. 

Personal Data Loss 

If there's a perceived security breach, everything on the device, private or corporate, may automatically be deleted. 

Big Brother 

The IT department can always track an employee's physical location and online activity. 

Solutions To the Most Common Security Threats  

Create Strong, Safe Passwords 

Employees often choose passwords like dates of birth or family names that make it easy for any hacker to discover with simple background research. Passwords should be unique and contain a random string of letters, numbers and characters. 

Train and Educate Employees About the Risks 

Training employees about why they need to secure their devices, back up data, avoid keylogger scams and detect malware and viruses can be helpful to avoid future security risks.  

Develop and Implement a BYOD Policy 

Create a BYOD policy for employees, and ensure they agree to the terms so they know the rules and regulations for using laptops and mobile devices for business use. 

Features to Secure, Scale and Succeed 

Separation of personal and business data 

EMM has the ability to wipe only the business data from a device if it is compromised.  

Customize interactive intuitive user experience at scale by role, department and workflow requirements 

Users should not worry about being productive from a smartphone due to a lack of security. 

To define your BYOD security plan, determine how quickly it shuts down access to confidential data and systems 

Directly blocking access to privileged systems and data is crucial to securing BYOD enterprise-wide. 

Provide limited access to internal system resources based on the employees' department, role and function to eliminate the risk of confidential data finding its way into a personal app 

Look for an EMM solution that allows the administrator to limit mobile device access to specific services and access points based on an employee's role within a particular department and the scope of data they need to access. 

Use proven multi-operating system expertise and support for legacy internally developed mobile applications and services 

BYOD is succeeding as an enablement strategy due to the freedom users have to select the device they prefer.The plan must support Android and iOS. The best BYOD security solutions provide compatibility between devices and applications without disrupting security or performance. 

Conclusion 

Zero Trust security principles are simple: every user, whether they are inside or outside of the premises, must be authenticated, authorized and encrypted in real time. It prevents malware from harming your network, protects workers without lessening productivity, makes it easier to manage security operations without increasing automation and allows for increased visibility into potential threats to improve response time. The two main ingredients to ensuring successful Zero Trust security are identity verification and consistent adherence to your policy. 

Contact Consolidated Communications today to discuss how we can help you to develop a BYOD strategy and achieve Zero Trust security.

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