BYOD, Policy Compliance Top Remote Access Concerns at Interop New York 2013

Another Interop New York conference has come and gone, and as usual, there were plenty of thought-provoking discussions. Unsurprisingly, security was a hot topic at this year’s event, with BYOD and policy compliance receiving a lot of attention. For example, Dark Reading’s Tim Wilson believes that as enterprises are looking at technology providers to help their organizations manage BYOD, it is important to have plans and policies in place that look at the big picture of network security.

Many Interop vendors and experts agree that enterprises are relying on third-party service providers more than ever before. Businesses are acknowledging the growing prominence of trends including BYOD and the cloud, and are trying to be more flexible in terms of what applications, operating systems and devices they are supporting. The problem is, many organizations simply don’t have the resources or technology to efficiently manage secure remote access to their corporate networks with in-house support only. Especially in small- and medium-sized businesses, where there is often a lack of IT security employees, let alone a department, providing employees with the wide range of remote access options they want is extremely difficult.

The lack of resources does not only hinder an organization’s telecommuting flexibility. It can also impact—and be responsible for—inadequate employee education. Unfortunately, unless an enterprise has a rock solid BYOD plan in place, undereducated employees may unknowingly fall out of compliance and leave holes in a network’s security. Cyber criminals are constantly getting more adept in finding security flaws to access corporate networks, allowing them to alter, steal or destroy sensitive information. From that perspective, it’s simple to see why better managing corporate policies in light of BYOD and cloud computing was top of mind for Interop attendees.

Security experts and vendors alike agree that the ability to navigate the rugged BYOD terrain is one of the biggest benefits of outsourcing secure remote access responsibilities. Enterprises need to look at the whole picture of their network and its security components, rather than each one in isolation, to come up with the best policies to manage everything. Central, policy-based management is one way to enable that.

When technology providers offer a centrally managed remote access solution, they’re offering much more than just a way for employees to safely connect to a network. They’re also offering predefined policies and protocols that significantly alleviate the pressure that comes inherent to initial deployments. This central administration simplifies remote access by enabling companies to roll out BYOD capabilities without ever touching the device at the endpoint. It also makes updating the capabilities of VPNs or certificates, for example, much easier. Ultimately, everyone is a winner: employees can enjoy accessing their corporate networks remotely, and enterprises have peace of mind knowing that those remote connections are secure.

This is not to say that today’s remote access technologies are infallible. In fact, many solutions are not compatible with popular operating systems like iOS and Android, instead requiring enterprises to adhere to their own unique overarching schemas. Some vendors say this allows them to deliver more quantifiable ROI results to their customers. However, many experts at Interop thought that there’s still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to measuring the impact of secure remote access solutions.

Secure remote access is certainly not a perfect science yet. But conferences such as Interop New York bring leading industry minds together, allowing them to analyze the market landscape right now and identify areas for innovation in advance of next year’s gathering.

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