Assessing the dangers BYOD presents to the enterprise – and what may come next
While the term BYOD is certainly nothing new, the concept is still hugely relevant as new and emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to shake up the modern enterprise.
The adoption of mobile devices is certainly not slowing down, and as the threat landscape increases in complexity with the introduction of everything from smartwatches to connected sensors, BYOD will continue to cause headaches for companies that are approaching management on a per-device basis. Issues like jail-broken devices, loss and theft and employees working around MDM controls are just some of the dangers presented to the enterprise by BYOD on a regular basis.
The most crucial element in a successful deployment of new connected technology is the security and connectivity of each application, so it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter what kind of device that it’s on, or who owns it. Businesses that want to improve productivity and security when it comes to their employees working outside of the four walls of the office should ask themselves if it’s the device they’re managing or the enterprise applications, data, and connections to the network. In accordance with this a mobile policy and security strategy needs to encompass not only the device, but the networks and applications.
Employees working remotely need to be able to perform their jobs efficiently and securely and technology should be an enabler, not a barrier to this. Happy and productive employees won’t fight against IT policies and that’s one key aspect to managing the change.
Future-proof your business
In order to future proof against the challenges from BYOD, COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) or other emerging mobility strategies, companies need to build a dialogue with their user community and invest in solutions that focus on solving real user problems and do real user enablement (transparency, app stability, ease of use, and so on). From a corporate liability standpoint, corporate ownership and a lenient personal use policy can secure the corporation’s interests in the event that devices are lost or relationships sour. For the most part it’s the management, rather than the ownership, that’s important.
Ensuring the organisation has a resilient forward-facing security strategy with strong passwords and multi-tiered authentication is good practice in preventing a data breach. But businesses can’t afford to to slacken their policies and rely on employees to secure each device of their own accord. This is where IT needs to take charge. The risk is huge and all that is required for a potentially costly attack is for one worker to click on one malicious email.
Facing the Internet of Things head on
One of the greatest challenges presented by so-called ‘post-BYOD’ technologies is the rapid dispersion of access points to the corporate network. Thousands of IoT devices may be spread over a wide geographical area, all connected to central servers and all vulnerable to attack. One way in which security parameters can be set to handle this new danger is by setting geo-fencing policies, allowing IT to set access-based policies using the GPS coordinates of employees. By capturing GPS information with a high degree of accuracy from a device pinpointing where it is at any given moment, IT can ensure that when that particular device goes outside of the set GPS coordinates, it will no longer be able to access certain applications or data.
This enables organisations to rebuild the corporate boundaries which the IoT and supporting cloud rendered obsolete. In the same way that data used to be restricted to private servers in office backrooms, with a comprehensive set of geo-fencing policies, sensitive data can once again be safely contained within the physical walls of the office – or the borders of a city or country.
The potential risks must be weighed against the potential for innovation and productivity when it comes to approaching a sensible and secure BYOD adoption strategy and policy. Keeping the business as well as users safe should be the IT department’s priority when it comes to embracing the use of personal and corporately owned devices. Whether we’re talking about per-application or per-device security, having a secure connection is key. Enabling employees to use the applications that they want to use will not only give them the tools to be more productive, but will give them the flexibility to drive more creative and innovative ideas.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.
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