A Look at BYOD in 2016

Happy 2016! It’s a new year, and a time for fresh resolutions to improve your life over the next 12 months, whether that involves running a marathon, getting a new job or taking that trip abroad you’ve been putting off. But for businesses, those New Year’s resolutions should be expressly focused on stronger security. With data breaches, email hacks and password thefts becoming more and more commonplace – and each cyberattack casting wider nets of victims – this is one resolution that can’t be allowed to fall through. This is especially true for organizations adopting BYOD and mobile-friendly policies. Just as developers have taken a “mobile first” approach to creating new apps – designing and optimizing apps from the ground up for mobile viewing and touchscreen interfaces – companies have begun taking the same approach to how their employees operate, whether it’s by allowing them to use their own personal devices in the workplace or utilizing either personal or company-owned devices while working remotely. As CIO.com points out, it’s important that this strategy pays special attention to security. Integrating more wireless and mobile devices into your company may make employees’ lives easier and more convenient, but it can open up serious potential security vulnerabilities if the proper precautions aren’t in place. A secure remote access VPN paired with cybersecurity policies like multi-factor authentication can help defend mobile communications – and protect the personal and corporate data that those communications send back and forth – from external threats. A New Year’s Resolution for Stronger Mobile Security As BNDA notes in its top 10 IT predictions for 2016, more than half...

What’s in a Name? The ABCs of Mobile Device Management

BYOD? CYOD? Given the slew of acronyms flying around mobile device management (which, of course, goes by the acronym “MDM”), you’d be forgiven for losing track of what some of these actually stand for, much less the concepts they represent. As offices increasingly embrace digital technology and enable more employees to work remotely, mobile devices like phones and tablets, not to mention laptops, have increasingly phased out the traditional desktop computer. But this paradigm shift is also opening a lot of sore spots and potential security vulnerabilities around corporate data– after all, it may be more convenient for employees to be able to send work emails from their personal phones, but what kind of liability does that create for the company when their sensitive material is stored in an employee’s private cloud storage? This raises further questions about where exactly a company should expect to draw the line between personal and business use on a mobile device. The business should allow a certain degree of convenience for the employee using their device, but at the same time, it’s important to ensure there are adequate security protocols in place. To that end, it’s worth dissecting just what exactly your MDM options are: BYOD: Under a Bring-Your-Own-Device policy, employees use their own personal phones or tablets for business purposes. This policy provides the greatest flexibility to employees in terms of familiarity – it’s their own phone, after all – but it also raises some privacy concerns, for both the company and the user. In fact, 57 percent of employees polled in a Bitglass survey said they opted out of their company’s...

The Lessons of Cybersecurity Awareness Month and What to Expect in the Year Ahead

For 11 years now, the U.S. government has recognized October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. While the original goal may have been to acknowledge the growing risks that cyberthreats pose to national security, it has – unfortunately – become all too clear in recent years that cybersecurity is an issue that affects not just government agencies, but anyone and everyone, regardless of industry. Consider how, in the last few years, claims of identity theft and tax fraud have skyrocketed, targeted data breaches at major companies – from big banks to retailers to healthcare providers – are compromising millions of records containing personally identifiable information (PII) and the IT departments responsible for safeguarding against these risks seem virtually powerless. And with businesses progressively moving their operations online – shifting email, files and other data into single-vendor cloud platforms like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps – these risks and their ripple effects will only continue to grow. As our lives become increasingly digital and interconnected, implementing proper cybersecurity and staying one step ahead of new threats will only become more important. To that end, and as Cybersecurity Awareness Month winds down, here are a few cyber risks you should put on your radar to protect yourself and your data in 2016: 1. BYOD Workplace Policies Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies may allow employees the freedom to use their own familiar phones, tablets or laptops for work purposes. But, it also presents a glaring security flaw when you consider that 43 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. don’t use any kind of password, PIN or pattern lock protection – let...

The BYOD Backlash: Enterprises Search for a New Mobile Device Management Standard

If corporate Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies are intended to be an acceptable compromise between employees and employers, why do both parties seem to be so consistently displeased with them? Let’s focus on employers, since they have final say as to what devices are permitted to access the corporate network. According to a study by CompTIA, BYOD has reached a breaking point. Fifty-three percent of enterprises now tell CompTIA that they have banned BYOD – up from 34 percent just two years ago. With that many employers banning BYOD outright, other initiatives have started to fill the vacuum. Believe it or not, some employers are finding themselves reverting back to how they handled mobile device management (MDM) years ago, before the infiltration of consumer devices into the workplace – by issuing work devices to employees. But what about the conventional wisdom that employees generally balk at corporate mobile technology, which may facilitate more secure remote access, but offers them little choice? As the CompTIA report found, some employees are actually open to using devices provided by the employer, on one condition – “if it is the same thing they would choose on their own.” What this shows is that even though a majority of businesses have banned BYOD, there’s still an opening for IT departments to provide employees with some degree of choice and flexibility in the mobile devices they use. And this degree of control is not through the physical device, but through the operating system – or rather, systems – that run on the device. One Device, Two Systems A container or partition solution is a newer form of...

How to Resolve the BYOD Stand-Off between Employees and IT

“Try to please everyone, and you’ll end up pleasing no one.” This is one of those classic, ubiquitous statements that can apply to any number of situations. Take the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend. To the employees whose jobs are made easier and more convenient by BYOD, the appeal of these initiatives is obvious. That’s why demand for BYOD is expected to increase by 25 percent between 2014 and 2019, driven by the consumerization of IT and increased mobile data speeds that meet enterprise-acceptable levels. Yet, on the other side of the spectrum, are the IT departments tasked with enforcing BYOD security frameworks. The same things that employees see as beneficial about BYOD – convenience and freedom of choice – are exactly what make IT departments so fearful. The two groups are fundamentally at odds. Users want, and demand, access to a broad range of personal mobile devices in the workplace. They want to be able to safely access work files on their phones while on-the-go and work from their homes on their personal laptops. Meanwhile, IT departments are tasked with protecting network security at all costs, and that means they are the ones who have to say “no,” and who have to restrict the technology employees are permitted to use in the workplace. That’s how BYOD “pleases no one” – users are frustrated by what they perceive to be restrictions on free use, while IT feels like it’s constantly engaged in an uphill fight against employees who frequently, both purposely and unwittingly, violate best practices around secure remote access VPN and BYOD. It’s the classic case of unstoppable force (in...