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How to embrace BYOD in 2015

Travis Greene, Identity and Access Solutions Strategist, NetIQ | Feb. 4, 2015
Travis Greene of NetIQ shares his insight on how to embrace BYOD in 2015 while still managing security risks.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

With personal devices delivering a superior experience to business systems, we can certainly expect to see more consumers increasingly intent on using their personal devices for business purposes in 2015.

Enabling personal devices for business use can improve both productivity and job satisfaction, but done incorrectly, it can frustrate employees and expose organisations to data loss by well-meaning but security-deficient personnel.

This trend which has spawned the term "bring your own device" (BYOD) has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. 

Analyst group IDC is anticipating the Asia Pacific BYOD market to continue strong growth with 155 million smartphones in use in the BYOD model across the region in 2014, a year-on-year growth of 40.4 percent. IDC also expects tablet BYOD to grow to nearly 4 million units, a year-on-year growth of 62.7 percent while notebook PCs will see a steep decline as the PC industry slows down and users migrate to other BYOD platforms. 

Managing Security Risks with BYOD

BYOD has quickly become the "new norm" for business and most have adopted an anything-goes approach with little governance. Despite statistics that show high levels of BYOD adoption, many businesses still haven't completely figured out how to capitalise on BYOD without exposing themselves to undue risk.

Complicating matters further, BYOD is a moving target. Today's fringe technology may be essential tomorrow. The iPhone, once derided as not enterprise ready, is now firmly entrenched in business. And BlackBerry, once the enterprise standard, now has a market share lower than the lowly "other" category in industry reports.

Similarly, wearable devices may not seem like they have a place in business today, but that may change tomorrow. The truth is, we don't yet know which devices will find their way onto corporate networks. We do know however, that people are embracing new technologies at a rate that is outpacing the ability to secure it.

The Problem with Current BYOD Solutions

Mobile device management (MDM) is an obvious choice for corporate-owned devices. You simply install an agent that allows security experts to control access and can remotely delete data if the device is lost or stolen. But MDM is often resisted with user-owned devices:

-          Users don't want to give IT the ability to delete personal files or photos.

-          Even with containerisation, giving up control is especially unappealing to users who see BYOD as a form of revolt against IT policies.

-          Many employees don't want to enable their employer to track them.

-          Gartner claims that 20 percent of BYOD initiatives will fail because of management measures that are too restrictive.


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