This industry viewpoint was authored by Dell's Matt Smith
Bring your own device (BYOD) strategies are becoming more prevalent in various industries, but often little effort is expended in the management of devices and security. Fortunately, many companies are starting to consider their options in this area. The benefits of allowing staff to use their own devices have been fairly well established, but that doesn’t mean that all the concerns have simply gone away. While there are many efficiency and budgetary gains to be had, there will always remain the possibility of a device getting lost or compromised, leading to a wide range of problems for the company.
IT teams must implement many different measures and processes around the network to provide all the advantages to the employees while still protecting the company’s sensitive data. With so many mobile devices, apps, and operating systems trying to connect to the network, BYOD has certainly posed some challenges on this front. However, cloud computing offers a number of solutions that directly address these issues.
The BYOD Inevitability
There may have been a time when a company would issue personal, mobile devices to their employees so they could access and process important information. These devices were strictly controlled and did not offer a lot of freedom for their users. Now, people want to use their own electronic devices for business, and there’s a good chance they’ll try using their business devices for non-work purposes.
This is an inevitability that many companies will simply have to accept, because if they don’t – if the cloud and BYOD solutions don’t mesh well – it could potentially be very disruptive to normal business processes. So the question isn’t necessarily “when” BYOD policies will need to be set, but “how” a company can ensure they are ready for the change.
How Does BYOD Work with Cloud Solutions?
It is possible to optimize a cloud environment to prepare for the incoming BYOD trends and still get the necessarily levels of security. In some cases, it is the cloud that provides the architecture on which BYOD can reliably function.
The cloud offers this level of security simply by making sure that nothing is ever stored or processed on an individual’s personal device. Everything that has value to the company or may contain sensitive information will be handled at a central location within a cloud.
This kind of security protects the company from devices that were lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised, but it can also help add another layer of defense against malware and other malicious digital attacks. And, should all else fail, mobile management tools in a cloud based environment give the IT team the ability to remotely access lost devices and wipe or lock them down.
Have Your Security in Place First
Many of the problems that come from BYOD policies are not deliberate acts of maliciousness on the part of the employee. Quite often, these are simple mistakes that come from oversights or misunderstandings. Someone may use an app the wrong way or leave the device behind on a trip. However, just because it was unintentional, that doesn’t make the consequences any less problematic.
Keeping apps and storage solutions in the cloud means that the company can exercise a much greater level of control over security measures. Rather than securing each and every device, or expecting employees to install all the necessary patches and updates, the system can be protected in a single location.
All your policies and workflows can reside in the cloud, where your rules and protocols can secure protections for all the access points. If the network is accessed through specific gateways, the security measures in the cloud should be in place to make sure the permissions and authorizations are met before anyone can maliciously or accidentally cause problems on the network.
For employees, accessing the network needs to be as seamless as possible, while companies need to ensure the integrity of their network. BYOD strategies can potentially reach into other areas, too, so employees can work in remote locations and use dedicated thin clients rather than a complete computer. It is a simple solution that taps into the power of cloud computing while taking extra precautions to keep the digital information safe.
Security measures have been, and will continue to be, a major concern for companies considering both BYOD and cloud solutions. This is certainly a valid issue, but by integrating the two technologies, there may be an alternative to traditional mobile policies.
Matt Smith has professional and personal interests in technology. As an employee of Dell, he has to stay up to date on the latest innovations in large enterprise solutions and consumer electronics buying trends. Personally, he loves making additions to his media rooms and experimenting with surround sound equipment. He’s also a big Rockets and Texans fan.