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Monday, April 01, 2013

Effective BYOD requires comprehensive security

Category:   Enterprise Mobility

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For any business to be successful, it is critical to take advantage of each and every available resource. This includes potential strategy options that can improve the efficiency or effectiveness of the organization.

In this latter category, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is among the most significant options available to businesses of virtually all types and industries. By leveraging BYOD, firms can become significantly more flexible, as employees can perform work-related tasks at any time and from any place. Additionally, because workers prefer to use their own devices, due to their greater familiarity with such gadgets, BYOD policies can have a positive impact on worker satisfaction and retention.

Yet as many are aware, BYOD, while potentially extremely beneficial, also carries serious security risks. Any firm utilizing BYOD needs to take data protection into account or face the risk of a data breach.

To effectively ensure secure file sharing in a BYOD deployment, businesses must take a comprehensive, inclusive view of data security. This was the view offered by numerous attendees at the recent IDC CIO Summit Africa 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa, as IT News Africa reported.

All together
The news source reported that several senior managers from Dell Computers indicated that prior to deploying a BYOD solution, it is essential for decision-makers to accurately assess the state of the corporate environment and work directly with stakeholders to establish and enforce policies for ensuring secure practices.

"Security, management of infrastructure and bandwidth all influence how the [BYOD] trend is adopted, and, more importantly, what the impact is on cost," said Llewellyn Chame, a mobility product specialist with Dell, the news source reported. "If handled correctly, there is a powerful story about helping businesses become more efficient and relevant."

Chame added that if businesses lack well-defined, carefully considered policies, BYOD integration may prove more costly than initially protected, and can lead to security issues.

Security matters
This raises the question of how decision-makers should go about ensuring their policies are sufficiently robust and comprehensive. Obviously, as Chame and other executives noted, it is essential for corporate leaders to conduct thorough assessments of their organizations to ascertain how employees' devices will be used and what security measures are currently in place. With this view, corporate decision-makers will be much better poised to craft policies and leverage tools that can protect company data in BYOD environments.

It is particularly critical in this regard for firms to take into account the end user experience. The most powerful BYOD security tools will fail to protect company data if employees simply do not use these resources, and such will be the case if the programs are overly burdensome. Even well-meaning employees will almost always choose an easy, unsecured method of sending and receiving files over a time-consuming, better protected option.

Firms must therefore invest in secure file sharing solutions that can operate without significant employee effort. By leveraging automated tools, firms can greatly reduce the risk of human error, either due to carelessness or forgetfulness, leading to fewer data breaches in BYOD environments.