Working on personal devices – a security loophole you need to consider

The practice of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has grown over recent years with more and more businesses adopting a work from home model. BYOD solutions can improve employee productivity and morale with the flexibility they offer as a work device. However, it has long been known as a security vulnerability if policies are not correctly implemented to protect business data.

What exactly is BYOD? 

BYOD refers to any personal device like a mobile phone, tablet or laptop that is used for business. In other words, it hasn’t been provided by the business, and usually hasn’t been approved or vetted. 

Using these types of devices can cause two areas of vulnerability. Firstly, the device may not have security measures installed. And secondly, since it is also being used for personal purposes, it can be prone to more threats because the attack surface is greater. 

Why is BYOD security important? 

Without secured devices, data leakage is a major worry. Staff access confidential business information daily to do their work. In fact, most staff members have company data on their device, be it in the form of emails, or downloaded from a shared drive like SharePoint. 

If the device is lost or stolen, the data could end up in the wrong hands. And don’t forget, data will be on the device even after the employee has left your organisation. 

Another threat is when employees use personal apps or download unsafe content. If the apps or content contain malware, it can spread to your business apps and data when they access your systems. 

While every organisation is at risk, these threats are especially relevant to the banking, legal and financial sectors. 

How can your data and systems be protected? 

There are several methods to secure BYOD devices. Compliance is one. This ensures devices have defence measures such as anti-virus, firewall, device encryption, and a secure password. Without them, access to business systems remains unrestricted. 

Sensitivity labelling is another. Applying a sensitivity label to data restricts what can be done with it. For example, employees may not be allowed to print, download, copy and paste a document depending on their access privileges. 

Applications and file types can also be protected. Apple devices require a Microsoft Authenticator app to use the Microsoft productivity suite, while Android devices require the company portal app. It means staff can’t use unapproved applications to access company data. 

Specific file types like Microsoft Office documents, text and image files, and PDF documents can also be secured. People can’t open them unless approved to do so. 

How can Retrac help? 

When deploying BYOD protection, we create a specific set of security policies to support your defined goals. Our purpose is to create a strong and enforceable boundary between personal and business use of devices.

We also stress the importance of staff education. Obviously, BYOD security impacts staff directly, so they need to get on board.

Our BYOD solution covers all key areas of concern: 

  • Data leakage
  • Approved applications 
  • Approved devices 
  • Device management 
  • Endpoint security  
  • Compliance
  • Conditional access


You’ll notice we include device management. This enables us to monitor devices to see who is logging in, on what device, and what apps are being used to access systems and data.  

We can then enforce policies around compliance and data, and even access devices to wipe your corporate data if the device is compromised or lost. 

Sometimes customers raise questions about the intrusion into personal devices with device management. Rest assured, Retrac has no control over the device or data itself, only how the corporate data can be accessed by the device. 

With the Retrac Security Bundle, you can enhance these capabilities without the need to focus on compliance by using Sensitivity labels and Microsoft Defender for cloud apps. 

Find out how secure your devices are

When talking to customers about BYOD, we find many have no idea how staff are using devices or accessing sensitive data. When they realise the impact unsecured devices can have on the business, they see how invaluable BYOD security is.

With cyber threats escalating year on year, BYOD security should not be overlooked. If you’d like to learn more about how you can ensure your business BYOD devices are secure, contact Retrac today.