BYOD does not spell disaster for network security

The past holiday season was brought to you by the letters B.Y.O and D. Indeed, BYOD or Bring Your Own Device.  Those four letters spell a major shift in the technology world, one which is going to have a big impact on businesses the next months.

The number one holiday gift last month were tablet computers and smart phones. It goes without saying that the vast majority of people will bring or already have brought their new device to work with them and thus through your business’s front door, wanting to log on to the corporate network.

Before panic sets in at the thought of hundreds of unsecured devices wreaking havoc on your well managed network, take a step back and have a look at the big picture.

BT’s Ray Stanton and Jeff Schmidt have been talking to the media about why the panic over BYOD is much ado about nothing and that the benefits of enabling workers to use mobile devices far outweighs the risks that are commonly associated with them.

From Jeff’s perspective tablets enable worker productivity and enhance customer satisfaction. As long as strong authentication is enabled and device-wipe capability is part of the tablet’s set up, data is likely more secure than if it was sitting on a desktop computer in an office park.

BYOD network security tips

In a recent article on Ray pointed out that securing mobile devices is very similar to securing laptops, something that companies have been doing successfully for many years now.   He says: “[i]f the policy is to allow tablet use, then introduce the same security policies and enforcement as you would on a laptop computer”.  It’s irrelevant if it is your own device. If users are accessing corporate data, the rules revert to the corporate policies, irrespective of what they have accessed it from.”

Ray points out that the other keys to success are user education to make sure employees are aware of policies and understand both why they are in place and how to comply with them.  Ray is particularly impressed with Good Technology from Good Dynamics which have some excellent platforms for multi-end user environments to manage and secure mobile devices.

And, as Martin Brown, another of BT’s security experts has said recently: “Make sure you enable a password set-up immediately and run security updates until there are no more flashing icons.  Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s secure!”

Guest post by by Tara Savage, Senior Marketing Manager, BT Global Services.


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