Security teams plan a new pandemic quarantine for BYOD devices headed back to the office

A survey from Blackberry finds that IT departments are worried about unpatched devices connecting to corporate networks as offices reopen.

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Security professionals are bracing for the next phase of the remote work reality: personal devices coming back into the office and bringing along all the associated security risks. A new survey from Blackberry found that many IT teams are planning to quarantine laptops for scans and patching before allowing them to reconnect to the network.

The 2021 UES Report from Blackberry asked IT pros in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. about security concerns as offices reopen. Security teams are worried about the security status of laptops, smartphones and tablets employees will bring to the office after using them on a home network for months without proper supervision or control.

The report found that a majority of respondents across all three regions plan to quarantine the devices for scanning and installing patch updates. Scanning and patch updates are the primary choice in Canada and the U.K. In the U.S., a majority of organizations appear to consider quarantining as a safer first option.

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The report is based on a survey of 300 IT professionals that IDG conducted in the fall of 2020.

The report also found IT teams plan to use a combination of endpoint protection, mobile threat detection and endpoint detection and response tactics to address security risks from these devices. Nearly one-third (32%) of organizations across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. have already implemented endpoint detection response, 21% plan to implement it and 31% are evaluating it. More organizations in the U.S. are interested in this approach than in Canada and the U.K. Financial services companies and organizations in the manufacturing and technology sectors are most likely to use this technology, according to the survey.

The survey found that security professionals also want endpoint technologies to adapt security policy dynamically based on a user's location, the device being used and other factors. Security teams see these top three benefits of dynamic policies:

  • Enhanced user experience and less friction (44%)
  • Continuous authentication (43%)
  • Reduced remediation cost (43%)

More than half of respondents also said that adaptive security policies will help reduce the cost of issue remediation, and a majority of respondents from the financial services sector think this approach will help them use security staff more productively. Consolidation of incident detection and response across all endpoint platforms is another major requirement. 

A substantial percentage of security professionals said that unified endpoint security is critical to the ability to detect and respond to threats on traditional endpoints and increasingly on mobile devices as well. Only 11% of survey respondents have deployed this solution, according to the survey, although 27% said their organization planned to implement this solution and 37% are evaluating the technology.

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...