SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

The BYOD juggling act: balancing security, privacy and mobility

Thu 5 Dec 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by Bitglass CTO Anurag Kahol

The productivity benefits of enabling cloud and mobile, along with the expectations of today’s modern employees, means that the majority of organisations now offer a BYOD and remote working policy.

Yet despite the benefits, personal devices in the corporate setting create something of a headache for enterprise IT teams.

Left unmanaged, personal devices and unmanaged cloud applications can lead to data loss, but if managed too strictly, the IT team risks a backlash from unhappy employees who feel their privacy and right to mobile working is being invaded.

Ban BYOD altogether, and the company loses the productivity benefits of a more mobile workforce.

IT teams find themselves in something of a circus act – trying to juggle the various needs of the business, without dropping one of the balls.

Mobility, privacy and security are, to different business stakeholders, equally important.

So, how can the IT team strike the perfect balance between all three? 


IT teams need to protect corporate data on mobile devices to limit data breaches and to comply with data protection regulations.

In a bid to secure these devices, many look at installing mobile device management or mobile application management software on personal devices.

Because this involves installing software agents on employee phones and tablets, effectively it gives IT teams control overall traffic to and from the device.

Whilst this approach gives IT teams a handle on BYOD security, it destabilises the BYOD balancing act because it doesn’t consider employee privacy – as well as being a logistical headache.

By placing a software agent on every employee’s personal device, all activity is forced through the corporate network.

It allows IT to keep an eye on corporate data, thus improving security, but also means that users’ private banking activity, social networking and a whole host of irrelevant information is also proxied via the corporate network.

This approach can lead to unhappy employees, who feel their personal information could be snooped on by unscrupulous IT staff.


People are becoming increasingly concerned about the extent to which their privacy is being diluted by online activities.

With data breaches in the news and regulations like GDPR emerging that have been created to help give power back to the people, it’s not surprising that privacy is a concern.

Indeed, a Bitglass study found that more than half of employees choose not to participate in their company’s personal device program because of privacy fears.

Due to time pressures and the proliferation of smart devices, employees expect to be able to work when and where they want.

However, if employees feel that a BYOD programme puts their privacy at risk, they might go as far as to work around the IT team and access corporate information without its knowledge and consent.

This avenue forsakes security in favour of privacy, as IT loses visibility into how corporate data is being used and its ability to protect it.


Left discouraged that they can either see too much or too little when it comes to BYOD, some IT teams might choose to ban BYOD programmes altogether – solving their security and privacy infringement woes.

But this method makes the organisation take a step back rather than forward because it hinders mobility.

Employees appreciate and value organisations that allow them to work when and where they want.

Deloitte found that workers with access to flexible IT policies were happier than their counterparts with non-flexible conditions.

Limiting access to corporate files to just the company building also inhibits productivity.

A recent study by Regus found that 74% of managers believe that flexible working is the key to workplace productivity.

How to balance it all?

IT managers might feel that it’s inevitable that one of these factors has to be sacrificed for the others.

They can either control too much of employees’ daily activity, too little, or have no procedure in place at all.

Thankfully, there is a way to balance all three requirements.

Instead of controlling every aspect of a personal mobile phone, IT could limit access from risky devices and destinations.

IT teams don’t have to place a software agent on personal devices at all.

Rather than focusing on protecting the device, IT teams should look for solutions that protect data – no matter where it travels. These solutions use proxy technologies, rather than software, meaning that they are ‘agentless’.

In practice, agentless security means that the rollout time is much faster and users do not need to be concerned about privacy, because their employer can only see their corporate activities.

These solutions can still offer all common security functions, including data loss prevention and remote wiping of company data – but without forsaking mobility or privacy.

Mobility, privacy and security are in many ways equally important.

To please employees, keep the C-suite happy and corporate data secure, IT teams need to turn their attention away from securing the employee-owned device or applications, to securing their sensitive corporate data.

This way, they can create a BYOD and remote working strategy that allows them to balance all three of these important components successfully.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Adatree, Brother, Databricks, Nutanix & Rubrik
We round up all job appointments from May 20-26, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Could New Zealanders initiate a cyber attack from within?
The threat landscape is significantly increasing worldwide, and the opportunities it presents are a growing concern in Aotearoa.
Story image
The path to bolstering supply chain security in New Zealand
A significant amount of today's business and leisure activity relies on IT supply chains. From complex international freight trades to local small business distribution channels, any supply chain that involves IT infrastructure serves as a crucial tool in our daily lives. 
Story image
Microsoft NZ and TupuToa to boost diversity in cybersecurity sector
Microsoft NZ has teamed up with TupuToa to co-develop a cyber security employment programme specifically aimed at creating more diversity in Aotearoa's cybersecurity sector.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Third-party automotive apps bear significant privacy risks
Mobile applications for connected cars provide various features to make life easier for motorists, but they can also be a source of risk.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
CERT NZ releases first Cyber Security Insights for 2022
CERT NZ has released Quarter One: Cyber Security Insights 2022, which offers an overview of reports about cybersecurity incidents affecting New Zealanders.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Maintaining secure systems with expectations of flexible work
Most office workers feel they've proved they can work successfully from home, and as much as employers try, things aren't going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Story image
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
APAC ranks third-highest region targeted by ransomware
Asia Pacific has ranked the third-highest region globally to be targeted by ransomware, according to cybersecurity firm Group-IB.
Story image
WhatsApp and QR codes the next scam threat - report
KnowBe4 has warned it expects to see an increase in QR Codes and the WhatsApp chat platform being used for phishing and other scams. 
Story image
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
The ups and downs and runarounds of catching cybercriminals in NZ
We're becoming more and more aware of cybercrimes but how many criminals actually get caught? The New Zealand police explain why the answer is complicated.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Global cybersecurity insurance market worth $11.5b this year
Future Market Insights finds the cybersecurity insurance market is expected to reach USD$11.5 billion in 2022, growing to $61.2 billion in 10 years.
Story image
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Story image
Fortinet introduces self-learning AI in latest offering
Fortinet is introducing self-learning AI capabilities in its new network detection and response offering, FortiNDR.
Story image
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Cybersecurity prompts upgrade for 1.3 billion electricity meters
ABI Research finds Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and cybersecurity concerns are prompting the upgrade of 1.3 billion electricity meters by 2027.
Story image
Asia Pacific plagued by sophisticated bad bots - report
The three most common bot attacks were account takeover, content or price scraping, and scalping to obtain limited-availability items.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Story image
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Vishing attacks reach all time high - Agari and PhishLabs
"Hybrid vishing campaigns continue to generate stunning numbers, representing 26.1% of total share in volume so far in 2022."
Story image
'Alarming' rise in ransomware threats - Verizon report
As criminals look to leverage increasingly sophisticated forms of malware, it is ransomware that continues to prove particularly successful.
Story image
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.