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Bring Your Own Network (BYON) is one of the latest trends among enterprise employees that consists of connecting devices to a personal mobile network. Although this practice can be beneficial for employees, companies must be wary of its potential security risks.

In our previous articles, we have explained what BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) is. Basically, BYOD is the existing trend of encouraging employees to work using their personal devices, such as their laptop and mobile phone. Meanwhile, BYON (“Bring Your Own Network”) is the latest BYO trend. It is considered an offshoot of the BYOD, as the idea is that the worker, that already uses his own devices at work, will now bring his own personal mobile network into the office.

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What is BYON?

Employees may create their personal mobile network for a few reasons:

  • The access restriction to the company WLAN. Nowadays, almost all companies have an official WLAN that is password protected, so that only employees can access internet through the network.
  • Sometimes the company WLAN has content filtering or application filtering enabled, to forbid users from accessing diverse web resources, such as social media, sales platforms (eBay, Amazon etc.), dangerous websites and so on.
  • The fact that employees do not have full freedom to surf the web makes them think they are being stalked by their managers.
  • The slow connection of the company’s network can also be considered a cause of the BYON trend.

To surf the web without restrictions, employees are now following the BYO trend and bringing their personal mobile network into the office. To do this, they are using their smartphone as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that shares its data connection with other devices, like the company laptop. The smartphone plays the role of a modem: this setup is called “internet sharing” or “tethering”. Nowadays, most smartphones can be used as a modem and are able to tether, sharing their data connection.

 

How can the BYON trend become a liability for companies?

Due to a bigger consumption of data, BYON can be an extra cost for employees. Even if some mobile carriers are blocking the tethering option, it still is a good compromise for managers and employees, as workers are enabled to access the internet for personal use while at work.

Still, BYON can be risky for the company’s IT security. In fact, one of the main risks is that employees may forget to switch from their personal network to the company WLAN while they are using company applications. The lack of security of employees personal networks, in comparison to the company’s, could lead to a data potentially be leaked and important data being stolen by hackers or shared by mistake on the web.  For these reasons, companies that allow BYON should have a system in place to mitigate the risk of intrusion and data theft.

 

Tanaza enables content filtering thanks to a 3rd party solution based on DNS. Find out more about how to activate this feature>>

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