Quarantine for equipment? Yes, there is such a thing

Cristina De Luca -

May 17, 2021

Believe it or not, companies are already assessing whether a quarantine period is necessary for equipment used at home by their professionals during social isolation – a period when the devices may have worked with insecure home networks. The revelation was made by a Blackberry survey of IT teams at companies in the US, Canada, and the UK.

At the start of the pandemic, many organizations gave employees their own equipment so they could work from home. Others relied on employees’ own PCs, laptops, smartphones, or tablets as a makeshift remote workstation.

Because of this, there is great concern about the security of the equipment that employees will bring back to the office. According to the study, the majority of respondents in all three countries said they planned to quarantine PCs when they arrive at the company or to scan and install updates and patches – the latter being the top choice in Canada and the UK; in the US, most organizations seem to consider quarantine as the first and safest option.

And the remote working framework is not expected to change much in six months and may even become a trend in the coming years. Because of this, the market covering solutions related to personal devices used at work, known by the acronym BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and workforce mobility is expected to reach US$ 180.8 billion by 2027, with a post-COVID-19 compound annual growth rate of 16.7% (2020 to 2027). These are tools that proved fundamental to ensure business continuity during the pandemic and that may become permanent in some industries that see remote work as another option for their employees.

However, the old security problem brought to corporate networks by the BYOD wave in the past has resurfaced with more force, given the current intensification of remote and hybrid working. The attack surfaces have expanded, and such equipment has become easy prey for cybercriminals. In other words, the line between personal and work-use devices has become even blurred since the pandemic, as companies can no longer control what equipment and networks their employees are using to work.

Blackberry’s research revealed that IT security officers had started to look for new ways to strengthen the protection of so-called endpoints. Specifically, they are looking for technologies to improve visibility and control. They also want the ability to dynamically adapt security policies based on user location, device type, and other factors. Consolidation of incident detection and response across all endpoint platforms is another important requirement.