BYOD Opens Up Big Security Doors

As employees increasingly use personal devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops for use in the workplace, an eye has been turned on security concerns stemming from the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon. Unfortunately, employees may unknowingly be putting company data at risk without the proper BYOD policies and training. And, while these data protection issues and concerns aren’t new, companies are surprisingly still in the very early stages of protecting mobile data–opening a door for channel partners to provide a consultative solution.

The 2013 Data Protection Trends Research, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Acronis, found that despite the increasing proliferation of iPhones, Androids, tablets and other devices, nearly 60 percent of organizations do not currently have a policy in place for BYOD. Nearly one third of organizations strictly forbid the use of any personally owned devices.

“Of course, the problem is that end users will inevitably find workarounds to restrictions and end up doing things that, at best, create inefficiencies, and, at worst, violate regulations and internal policies, or present a data leakage issue by exposing sensitive and confidential material,” said Anders Lofgren, Acronis’ director of mobility solutions, in a blog.

For example, many employees will start using public cloud services, such as DropBox, which are largely designed for consumer use and aren’t secured for enterprise environments. But, the research found that 67 percent of organizations do not have a policy pertaining to sharing corporate file in a public cloud.

“Whether companies like it or not, the BYOD movement is infiltrating their organizations – restricting personal device use or avoiding employee training and policy implementation is no longer an option,” Lofgren added. “The only way companies can make a successful transition to the BYOD era is to meet it head on.”

From an IT perspective, channel partners can ask a few specific questions in order to find a BYOD solution that appropriately addresses their customers’ needs.

How do the solutions fit within your security policies and infrastructure?  For example, do you need a solution that integrates with Active Directory?

Do the solutions provide all the management capabilities that you need? In other words, can IT stay in control, even if a personal device with corporate data is lost or stolen?

Are the solutions simple enough for the end user so that employees will want to use them?

“If approached intelligently, BYOD can become a very powerful advantage for any organization,” said Lofgren. “It can drive greater efficiency, reduce costs, promote more-informed decision making, improve customer satisfaction and even make employees happier. The trick is to arm yourself with the knowledge to tackle BYOD concerns before they become major data security issues.”

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