After traveling the East Coast last week to hear from some of our partners, Dell SonicWall and Aruba (an HP company – recently acquired) we’re ready to share what we’ve learned and what’s coming down the line in network and email security, hardware, the elusive Gen Mobile, and the challenges and solutions to the BYOD movement.
Both Dell and Aruba discussed the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement extensively. It’s a consistent problem, and opportunity, in the digital age. There is no separation between work and play anymore; everything lives together in our minds and in our devices. This coincides with the Gen Mobile mentality, the generation of workers that have grown up with technology and consider having the world attached to their body (smart watches) to be second nature. Our personal devices carry all of our data everywhere we go – they tell us when we have a meeting, email, and keep our photos all in the same cloud. This can be a good thing but comes with unique struggles for IT systems and, most importantly, SECURITY. So how do we keep employees happy, take advantage of emerging technology, and keep our most valuable information secure? It’s all about understanding the user’s habits, and solving security problems before they start.
Don’t worry – we don’t have to go back to the COLD era, (that’s Corporate Owned Locked Down). Not too long ago, businesses would be in charge of deciding which devices were used to conduct said business, from computers to telephones – and even mobile devices were often chosen and provided by businesses. This meant that employers and IT engineers could be in complete control of security, set up the necessary systems, and be aware of all risks. Many large enterprises still follow this methodology, but the reality is that it won’t work, and workers won’t be pleased. They will still use their personal devices for corporate activities, and really, we should encourage that. The fact that work is always in your employee’s pockets is amazing for productivity, but an individual is less likely to follow the same precautions they might while at work using a work-sanctioned device.
Are they considering the WiFi network they are connected on?
Does their personal device have a pin code or passcode?
Are they being careful of spam and viruses?
Most likely not, and it can take just one misstep to tear down a system, as we know. What’s worse – these BYOD users are used to assuming that their IT department has implemented all the necessary precautions, so the security of their work data is not a top concern.
Let’s prove them right.
BYOD is not the be-all and end-all. To keep secure while everyone is still smiling, businesses and IT departments should consider other acronyms within the spectrum of BYOD to COLD. Consider COPE, Corporate Owned Personally Enabled – the organization chooses the device, incorporates controls and security, but the user can choose the system and experience. Or, a business could create a list of devices for users to choose from. Win-win. Either way, the IT department needs to be able to understand the devices and apps employees are using, adapt, and make the right decisions on devices and apps for their industry and size.
Pick the devices, lock them down, scale, and repeat.