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Published on November 21st, 2012 | by John I.

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Setting Up a Secure BYOD Environment for Companies through IT Services Management

Despite the potential for personal mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, to raise productivity and reduce costs, their usage may pose security risks for critical business data. Companies considering the adoption of these devices will need the guidance of a capable IT firm that provides IT services management to establish a secure BYOD (bring your own device) environment for their employees.

A growing preference for the use of personal mobile devices among employees has grown over the years. One reason for this is that they get to use applications they are familiar with, allowing them to be more productive. Another is that these devices allow them to work remotely anytime, as long as there is Internet connectivity. Companies also recognize how a BYOD scheme will enable them to reduce hardware costs and energy expenditures if employees can work from home.

However, security remains an issue when embracing this scheme. Most companies have security policies, including the configuration of in-house computers and networks, to protect sensitive corporate data. Personal smartphones, tablets, or laptops may not have been properly configured with the right security programs needed to prevent security breaches. Furthermore, employees, who have full control over their devices, may not be following security policies strictly upon using them.

Companies must address these concerns in light of possible hacker attacks and breaches on these devices. Reliable IT firms can help them set up a BYOD strategy to prevent these security breaches. This begins with understanding their goals with respect to personal devices. These generally fall within four categories:

  • Limited: Companies requiring high control of information usually allow the use of devices they provide. Since personal mobile devices have no access to the network, there is no need to set up a BYOD policy.
  • Basic: Organizations, such as libraries, that aim to have their resources accessed would welcome a BYOD policy with very minimum security requirements, such as for the protection of financial information.
  • Enhanced: Businesses that allow different levels of access for different users would require a wide range of policies. For instance, healthcare organizations that allow Internet access for guests also have a secured gateway for doctors to access private medical records through their devices.
  • Next-generation: Certain companies would encourage the use of personal devices to be able to reap the benefits of their usage. Retailers, for instance, make use of applications that would give their customers a better shopping experience.

Upon determining the BYOD policy that applies to them, companies can now choose the IT infrastructure that can support it. Businesses can opt for a point solution approach to deliver the policy, whereby each device is configured separately in light of the overall goals of the company to ensure security. Upon determining the BYOD policy that applies to them, companies can now choose the IT infrastructure that can support it. Businesses can opt for a point solution approach to deliver the policy, whereby each device is configured separately in light of the overall goals of the company to ensure security. This is not a decision to be taken lightly, as a lax BYOD policy may be detrimental to individual employees and even to the company as a whole. Some aspects of a strict restriction on a personal device policy may be met with negativity by employees, but in the end that negativity is worth the potential ramifications of a breach in security. Once the decision is made, the IT infrastructure should soon follow. Separate configurations for devices have their benefits, as employees will most likely be unanimously happier with this option.

On the other hand, they can take the unified network architecture approach through which point solutions are integrated on the level of the network, and all the devices and users can be seen and easily managed. Through this second approach, users are empowered to use their mobile devices while ensuring that the critical business data stays protected.



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