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BT security chief: We are ‘struggling and overly conservative’ on BYOD and cloud

Derek du Preez | April 24, 2013
BT’s head of global security practice, Jill Knesek, has said the telco is ‘overly conservative’ and ‘struggling’ with the proliferation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and cloud trends within the enterprise because of compliancy fears.

BT's head of global security practice, Jill Knesek, has said the telco is 'overly conservative' and 'struggling' with the proliferation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and cloud trends within the enterprise because of compliancy fears.

Knesek was speaking this week in Las Vegas on a panel at CA's annual conference for customers and partners, where she admitted that the organisation may be creating more security risks by being slow to adopt BYOD and cloud, as employees bypass the IT department and use the tools anyway.

Speaking on the topic of BYOD, Knesek said: "How do you manage it? I can tell you right now that BT is still in the mode of very prescriptive about what we do on BYOD. We have not opened it up full board, and there is a lot of nervousness around what that means.

"We are taking a very conservative view at this stage and being very careful about how we roll it out. I think it's going to come down to how we control the apps, but the data is really going to be the key for us because people still want their personal device, but they want it in a corporate setting."

She added: "We have to figure out where we can draw that line on wiping the device, which part of the device we can wipe, how we control access, is this person acting personally or are they acting in a corporate function? We are not sure how we are going to handle that in a lot of scenarios."

Equally, when speaking on the adoption of cloud within BT, Knesek said that although there are some benefits to be gained, enterprises inevitably end up giving up control when pushing applications out into the cloud. She said that although cloud will probably be a direction the company ends up going in the future, being on the cutting edge was too "nerve wracking and not the smartest move for large organisations".

"I think it comes down to the risk factors and I think we are trying to understand the cost versus the benefits. We are trying to understand how those contracts and those terms and conditions are put together - where responsibility ends for the cloud provider, and where it begins for us," said Knesek.

"We are not doing a lot around the core business functions, we really aren't. We are trying to keep on the fringes."

However, when asked by Computerworld UK whether BT might actually be increasing the risk of data loss by locking down employees who will probably find ways to bypass the IT department by ignoring policy and using personal devices and the cloud, Knesek agreed that it was a concern.

 

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