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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Poor user experience can undermine BYOD security

Data protection solutions that result in a poor user experience can fatally undermine BYOD security.

Category:   Secure File Transfer   Enterprise Mobility

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Considering how rapidly organizations in every industry and sector are moving to adopt bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, it is no surprise that secure file sharing solutions are on the top of many decision-makers' minds. As is well-known by this point, BYOD has the potential to offer tremendous benefits to firms, making them more flexible, responsive, adaptable, productive and overall effective.

Yet these benefits do not come without a price. Most notably, any organization implementing a BYOD strategy faces a heightened risk of a data breach. However, surveys now show that most business and IT leaders firmly believe that the advantages of BYOD outweigh the disadvantages. But for this to be the case, steps must be taken to optimize the security of each and every mobile device that will be used to send, receive and access corporate and client data.

Hence the extreme focus on secure file sharing solutions. There is no shortage of offerings in this arena, which means that decision-makers must be extremely strategic when making their decisions.

One of the most important factors to keep in mind is the quality of the user experience. As industry expert Ryan Faas recently highlighted for CITEworld, solutions that result in a poor user experience can fatally undermine BYOD security.

Users and security
Faas noted that it is easy to argue that there are other aspects of BYOD security which IT and business leaders may assume are more important that the end user experience. Obviously, the software must be robust enough to stand up to the ever-evolving cyberattacks that criminals now use to target companies of all kinds. If a BYOD security solution is not advanced enough to head off these attacks and to evolve to meet future efforts, the company will be at risk of a data breach.

However, as Faas pointed out, this alone is not enough to ensure that data protection is maintained in a BYOD environment.

"[F]or any mobile security strategy (or any technology strategy) to be effective, it needs buy-in from the business users that will be relying on that strategy," he explained.

If a company's employees are not on-board with the secure file sharing solution that the firm ultimately selects, then that data protection resource will fail to effectively serve its purpose. This is due to the fact that BYOD security is largely dependent on employee participation. If workers do not actively utilize the tools provided, the data accessed and contained on their devices becomes vulnerable.

This is a tricky issue, as most employees will be resistant to intrusions on their personal devices. If the security solutions installed are difficult or time-consuming to use as well, then it is likely that many workers will simply choose to operate their devices in an unsafe manner, rather than jump through hoops to protect corporate information.

On the other hand, if the firm selects a low-maintenance secure file sharing solution and works directly with employees to choose and explain the resource, then participation will likely be much higher, as will employee satisfaction and overall corporate security.