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Securing the winds of change

The current meteoric rise in BYOD (Bring You Own Device) has clearly shown that it is on the expected trajectory in the process of delivering on its promises of better innovation, mobility, finer work-life balance combined with significantly improved productivity. There is a clear and strong desire for BYOD programs, resulting from an increased BYOD mandate led by large enterprises. However, like any other new technology or process that is implemented, security has become a prime and critical aspect in implementing BYOD in any enterprise.

Inevitably, the onus of ensuring this security falls on IT, and specifically, on the CIO in every single organization that is adapting BYOD. This increasing pressure to manage and secure devices and data is having an impact across the IT organization, from Application Development to Support to Security and Compliance. In addition, there is a collateral effect on budgets and network performance as well. Till now however, much of apprehensions around costs, privacy and data security have been pushed under the carpet giving way to convenience instead. However, given the gaining momentum of BYOD in the enterprise, it is getting difficult to ignore these security concerns any longer.

IT organizations must pick up the mantle of balancing the benefits of BYOD with the onus of mitigating increased security threats. This must take into account the inherent users’ desire to choose their own device versus the CIO’s mandate to secure enterprise boundaries. Just beginning to get out of its nascence, some initial BYOD security aspects revolve around separate personal and company smartphones, and signing off of some privacy rights. However, this is simply insufficient.

In the last couple of years, new vendors for Mobile Device Management, or MDM, have been mushrooming across the globe. Millions of dollars has been invested in MDM start-ups. These vendors offer a huge choice of pre-packaged, integrated and standalone tools and solutions to manage sandboxed enterprise applications, corporate data containers and secure Web browser environments. While this has extended options of security, costs and technology to the IT organization, this very choice has led to confusion in the enterprise market, especially the CIO decisions.

The challenge of managing security for a BYOD environment is a massive one. Apart from costs, the CIO has to take into consideration multiple other aspects from the business perspective including Security Monitoring, Device Management and Vulnerability Management. It therefore becomes crucial to have a realistic, balanced and mature view in place to help evaluate and decide on the technology risk while taking all the above-mentioned factors into consideration. Specific policies help, but what enterprises need is a matured and stable partner who can ensure end to end security – preferably a Security Operations Centre…that can integrate MDM or security for BYOD mobile devices with the security strategy of the company.

Srinivas Anappindi

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