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Security: Blog Post

Bring Your Own (Occasionally Connected) Device

Companies have tried many different ways to corral and control the flow of data from BYOD

This post is written in association with Dimension Data, an ICT services and solutions provider that uses its technology expertise, global service delivery capability and entrepreneurial spirit to accelerate the business ambitions of its clients. Dimension Data is a member of the NTT Group.

The so-called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon has gone hand in hand with the consumerization of IT trend. Both of which sound like strangely disconcerting and confusing terms if taken out of context or presented to a layman or novice for the first time.

Of course all we are talking about is users using devices in the workplace in the same ways and means that they have become used to when they are being consumers, i.e., not enterprise users.

BYOD Repercussions for #securemobility
It sounds simple on paper: lock down these BYOD devices at any ‘touchpoint' they have with the corporate network and, always, lock down the corporate network from the inside as robustly as possible.

Companies have tried many different ways to corral and control the flow of data from BYOD. One of the emerging trends appears to be the creation of enterprise app stores for business applications. Functioning in the same way as ‘App Stores' from some of the major vendors, the more formalized enterprise version is security protected and should be theoretically safer from the start.

But as we know, users are inherently curious by nature and they will typically still look to circumvent even enterprise app stores and/or use their own apps and data in ways that connect to the workplace.

For more information take a look at the findings of Dimension Data's global Secure Mobility Survey.

Centrally Controlled Command Consoles
Firms can do all the right things such as forming an end-to-end backup and recovery policy (which they really should do) and take steps to build in the most robust levels of enterprise security. Enterprise app store controls and central management of users' devices means that updates can be rolled out from a centrally controlled command console, which is all good news.

There's a strong efficiency argument here too. Managing the mobile application wave also means we can optimize every application to do the best job it can do at any one moment in time.

Workplace-as-a-Service Next?
The more we can manage these issues, the closer we can get to what we could even call Workplace-as-a-Service. Yes okay this is a case of yet more ‘jargonization' (is that not a word yet?) and industry-speak, but it makes the point very clear, i.e., we need to evidence and ‘own' control of our mobile applications layer.

Hopefully you picked up on that use of the word ‘own' in the last sentence. Ownership is crucial. Data ownership is all about understanding who owns what data and making sure employees are aware who owns what data on which devices.

Bring Your Own (Occasionally Connected) Device
This stuff is real and BYOD is a big mountain to climb. Even the still-emerging still-nascent technologies in this space are real. Your refrigerator, toaster and front door bell might not all be completely connected to the Internet of Things quite yet, but that time is not far off.

It won't be long before our BYOD concerns also stretch to the realm of Bring Your Own (Occasionally Connected) Device - if that is indeed what we might call the IoT-connected toaster.

This is the breadth of our security challenge today and we have a long way to go.

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For more information on this discussion topic Dimension Data has published an Enterprise Mobility Survey Report to examine the critical gap that exists between the enterprise mobility vision and real-world implementations.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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