Corporate and home networks are typically split into lanes of traffic that your computers are allowed to travel upon. These lanes determine how your devices communicate to different resources like printers and network file shares. There can be devices though that are causing disruption to the network and you might not know it. And this could be related to the BYOD to work trend that’s been gaining in popularity over the past few years.
Devices that connect to networks use something called broadcast. In general, it’s using a signal to reach out to another device on the network that is the gatekeeper for communications – which allows your device to connect to other things like the internet. While things usually go well and you are able to get to Google or Bing or that favorite social media site, sometimes you run into situations where your network is running so slowly that none of the sites load – or stop working all together.
You’re disconnected. Why does this happen? Could it be a rogue, unknown device causing the disruption? Could it be me? Could it be you? More than likely, it’s you – and we need to break up.
Big and small corporations spend a good portion of their IT budgets to protect the network through various means, like the segmentation of networks, antivirus solutions, expensive firewalls, etc. All devices should have, at a minimum, an antivirus or endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution – something like Trend Micro, Webroot or CrowdStrike – that can filter traffic on your workstation or laptop. The days of saying viruses don’t infect Apple computers, though smaller in comparison to Windows machines, is no longer true.
But what if your company allows you to bring your own device to work? This has become a very popular thing in recent years – allowing employees to bring their own devices with their own apps on them and use them on corporate networks for convenience.
The fact of the matter is, it’s just easier to carry one device that has everything you need or even want on it. But, what could be the downside? What do companies know about these devices? How secure are they?
Think of yourself driving in heavy traffic. You’re listening to your favorite music and then someone else comes along side of you blaring loud, thumping music that, not only makes your car shake, but disrupts the enjoyment of listening to your music. You can’t stop it – it just keeps blaring. Now compound that with heavy traffic of other cars with loud, thumping music. Now no one can hear anything. You just want the noise to stop and traffic to cease. You need to remove the noise.
You could also think of a car that hasn’t had its emissions inspected… and it’s continually letting out nasty exhaust everywhere. Now you can hardly breath or see through the polluted cloud in front of you. This is the same thing as having a device dirty up your network with unsecure, potentially harmful, data and information. You need to remove the nasty.
Getting rid of the noise and nasty
In corporate environments, this can happen with wifi connections and hard wired connections. The problem is, how do you get rid of the noise?
You need to find the bad devices and isolate them off of your network – ideally to a guest network. One big issue with BYOD to work is that a lot of people have outdated and unsupported devices that aren’t getting current security patches and antivirus definitions anymore. Some people find themselves thinking some variation of the following:
“Windows 7 has been discontinued for several years now. It still might work, so what’s the harm if I bring this to the office? I use it at home and there’s not any problem…”
Older devices with obsolete operating systems like Windows 7 are not receiving security updates from Microsoft anymore that fix and prevent vulnerabilities. You can have something called ARP poisoning, such as MITM attacks. These vulnerabilities are weakness that bad actors on the internet exploit to gain access to your workstation and, ultimately, to disrupt or penetrate your network.
Your favorite game or video software might actually be doing more harm than good. If you see a bunch of advertisements on your workstation/laptop and you’re at home, you probably don’t think much about it. You click away from the advertisement and continue.
In a corporate environment, this could be a sign that you are compromised by phishing attacks or malware. Much like the earlier example of how loud, thumping music can make it harder to hear your music, this can make your computer harder to reach resources on your network. The “blaring sound” makes it harder to hear your music, hold a conversation, and can be distracting to your driving. The disruption on your corporate network can show up in a lot of little ways – your computer can’t open the camera system software anymore, or printing is really slow, or your video calls drop all of the time for no apparent reason.
You might have something on your network that shouldn’t be there – and you need to find it quickly or more disruption could be coming. It’s mayhem and it needs to be stopped. Mirazon can help.
If you’re interested in learning more about BYOD to work and how you can improve efficiency and cybersecurity to your network, please contacts us and call 502-240-0404 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mirazon is a company of trusted IT advisors for organizations large and small. Founded in 2000 in Louisville, Kentucky, Mirazon focused on providing world-class technology consulting to local businesses. Decades later, we specialize in Microsoft, Wi-Fi, networking, cloud computing, and desktop support. While we hang our hats in Louisville, we travel the world to serve our clients from small, local businesses all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.