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BYOD and the language of cybersecurity

Monday 24 September 2018

We need to change the lexicon of cybersecurity. Cybercrime is a real, day-to-day threat to both individuals and businesses alike, but is couched in the impenetrable jargon of “bad actors”, “attack vectors” and “botnets”, terms the average employees is unlikely to understand. 

How are we as an industry going to promote better cybersecurity practices when we reinforce the knowledge gap like this?

Take BYOD, a pretty straightforward issue on the face of it, but even this has been truncated into a not particularly snappy acronym. Could you say with hand on heart that everyone in your business could unpack it? Do you think that, if someone didn’t understand it they’d have the courage to ask and face embarrassment?

Yet, BYOD has long been noted as a possible week link in organisational cyber security, predominantly due to its reliance on the cyber security best practice implemented by employees. So could an employee who doesn’t understand what BYOD is be trusted to the implement the right security measures when using their personal device for work? Or even to not use it for work at all?

The answer is probably no.

As a society we’ve grown accustomed to using our smartphone at anytime and anywhere, that’s kind of the point of them. And, if businesses are expecting workers to be always connected, they need to also offer the flexibility to do so on whatever device is most convenient for them.

So what’s the solution here? Despite BYOD being one of the most relevant, and prevalent, security concerns for businesses you can’t realistically ban employees from using personal devices in the office. Instead there needs to be a focus on how to reduce the risk whilst still enabling people to use their devices. Ultimately if we’re going to reduce the likelihood of human error causing cyber security risks then it needs to be better explained to workforces, we need to cut the jargon and talk about cybersecurity in plain old English.

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