Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer showed us that BYOD isn’t a fading trend. What does the permanence of this trend mean for your business's BYOD policies? Challenges in security, data leak prevention, and bandwidth limitations at the very least. But perhaps it also means an opportunity to be at the forefront of IT security innovation--by implementing solutions that work for, and with, your company goals. It’s vital for your organization to know the threats that mobile devices can bring to your network.
Since mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones contain their own native IT security measures, some business leaders and IT managers question the need for the additional security that can be provided by a mobile data management system. The simple answer to this question is that mobile data management programs can serve to both enforce and provision the native security present on handheld devices. A more nuanced answer, however, would point out that MDM products could produce an "integrated security" environment in which mobile devices become not only more secure, but also far more useful to the organization.
Most small to medium sized businesses have historically found the mobile payment space to be a non-viable solution to their business needs. It has been one of a few new mobility solutions that is too fragmented, too expensive and too cumbersome to implement successfully. Most companies have found that to add mobile payments to their business model, they need additional capital to invest in more hardware than they've ever needed before.
To counteract this feeling and avoid playing catch-up, RIM decided to innovate by recently launching a new beta platform to help Blackberry regain a hold both in the consumer marketplace, and with the emergence of BYOD, in the workplace too – but is this strategy working? Considering that the official release isn’t until 2013, a general consensus is that both users and developers are tired of waiting for this new platform. The excitement has waned to annoyance. But has it really?
If the user base is dwindling, one can easily assume that the number of developers creating apps, especially in a BYOD enviroment, would also dwindle, after all, who wants to develop apps for a company with a shrinking user base? But here are a few things to consider:
According to a recent draft of mobile security guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), businesses should seriously consider the deployment of software that can provide centralized management for mobile devices. This recommendation appears in "Guidelines for Managing and Securing Mobile Devices in the Enterprise," also known as Revision 1 of NIST Special Publication 800-124. The draft guidance goes beyond a mere recommendation of such IT solutions; it also provides detailed suggestions that SMBs can use to help them select a centralized management program for mobile devices, as well as guidance with regard to installing and using such a system.
The world of technology continues to evolve with the demand for better business solutions. Technological advancements, in IT especially, have become driven by capitalism as demand becomes greater for more streamlined and less expensive operational models. One on-trend new offering that aims to streamline business operations and promote collaboration among employees is VMware's Project Octopus. The "first viable Enterprise cloud file sharing application" promises to be the next big advancement for the modern business model in cloud computing, mobility, virtualization, and other key areas of IT impacting the way businesseses function today. Project Octopus boasts the ability to enable users to collaborate easier in a BYOD-focused market; many are calling it the start of a PC-free era in business.
Mobile devices are no longer seens as just personal objects of leisure (i.e. cell phone walk talkies or portable gaming systems). Mobile devices have evolved into indispensable business tools that are constantly used in both the home and the office. Ubiquitous use of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops is to be expected in the 21st century, while the security of these devices is the almost always the sole responsibility of the owner. How secure is a business's network though when the majority of its employees are utilizing BYOD?
Mobile Device Security for Businesses
The use of personal mobile devices in the workplace is a popular trend, and employers are forced to accommodate this practice in terms of the security of their network. Businesses have had to adopt policies to protect their networks, given that the constantly evolving mobile device market brings numerous security challenges with each new product or release. These bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies range from requiring devices to be configured with stronger passwords, to prohibiting certain applications from being installed, to requiring all data sent or received on devices to be encrypted. A more draconian BYOD policy may include limiting activities that employees can perform on personal mobile devices at the workplace, such as only checking corporate email, and might even include regular IT audits to guarantee compliance and identify violations.
Mobile Device Detection and Monitoring
BYOD policies can only take you so far, however, when it comes to security. Some mobile device operating systems are inherently more robust than others, and some are simply not designed with security in mind - exposing your systems to vulnerabilities no matter the efforts of your IT team.
Some larger enterprises have recognized the IT security dangers of BYOD for years, requiring all employees to use a standard cell phone platform (most often RIM's Blackberry). However, that type of restriction is not practical in today's diverse smartphone market.
Fortunately, next-generation technology is providing solutions to the BYOD security problem. It is now possible to identify and monitor all mobile devices on a network simply on the basis of their network traffic. Tracking mobile-specific plugins and utilizing platform-specific intelligence allows for automatic identification of mobile device manufacturer, OS, and version, as well as a list of vulnerabilities, for every device on the network.
Network administrators now can much more easily identify problems such as policy violations, unproductive or unauthorized user activity, as well the variety and sensitivity of information users are accessing. These mobile device monitoring and tracking software packages offer various real-time alert and report options so that IT managers and company executives can make well-informed decisions regarding mobile devices on corporate networks.
IT managers have identified mobile security as one of their top three concerns in 2012. Don't fall behind in mobile security - contact iCorps today.
Research in Motion, the producer of the BlackBerry smartphone suffered a blow last month when Yahoo! offically switched all employees a new iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, HTC EVO 4G LTE, or Nokia Lumia 920, including a company-paid data and phone plan. Yahoo! will also discontinue IT support for the BlackBerry.
In the press release announcing the popular decision, new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer wrote, "We'd like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do."
Most Yahoo! employees are happy with the switch, more than ready to get rid of their BlackBerrys, which have been waning in popularity for some time now. Most have praised the decision, but some IT security experts are questioning the safety of these devices over the uber secure BlackBerry.
BlackBerry vs iPhone vs Android Smartphones -- Which Is More Secure?
BlackBerry is and remains a highly secure mobile device platform. It was originally designed with corporate-grade security in mind, and RIM has worked hard to maintain that focus with all of the new versions of the BlackBerry operating system.
The BlackBerry 7 OS was recently rated the "most secure OS" in a report by software security specialists Trend Micro. Blackberry 7 scored 2.89 out of a possible score of three, with the iPhone 5 OS coming in a distant second with a score of 1.7, and the Android 2.3 OS coming in at the bottom of the heap with a security score of just 1.37.
The report praised the BlackBerry 7 OS both for its robust security-conscious design and the ease of use in the set up of security features. The iPhone was mentioned positively in that it did allow easy app "sandboxing," and because it does not include any type of removable storage (always a major security risk). The particularly low score that the Android 2.3 OS received was due to the fact that although "sandboxing" of apps was possible, it was very cumbersome, so the majority of users did not bother. This, of course, is a major security vulnerability, and hopefully most corporate users will be savvy enough to know to keep their apps out of their OS.
Although earlier versions of the iPhone OS were notably lacking in security features, the iPhone 5 OS offers users all of the security basics. An iPhone 5 is probably secure enough for your needs, but there are definitely some risks involved. Some analysts have questioned Yahoo!'s timing of the switch to smartphones in terms of security, possibly exposing themselves to security risks by pulling the trigger too early. The iPhone OS 6 is rumored to include several major security upgrades.
If the highest level of security is vitally important to you, you can feel the most secure with a BlackBerry.
Want to learn more about mobile security and how it can affect your business? Contact iCorps today.
Bring Your Own Network (BYON), an offshoot of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, is steadily circulating in businesses around the world. BYON allows users to establish their own mobile networks even within the vicinity of their corporate network. The meteoric rise of BYODs and BYONs stems from their capacity to organically meld with cloud computing systems. However, since most mobile devices have the capability to create dynamic area networks (DANs) through embedded wireless hotspot features, the threat to internal networks becomes more imminent – stretching far beyond the presence of individual devices to rogue individual networks.
As any CIO, IT professional or manager of operations can tell you, most employees have fully embraced the idea of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace. But is BYOD good for a business? What are the advantages? What are the risks?
A year after unveiling their first ever color tablet, the Kindle Fire, Amazon is back again with the release of three new Kindle Tablets - Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HD 7, and Kindle Fire HD 8.9.
BYOD isn’t a fading trend. It’s here to stay. And Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in today’s business world are growing in acceptance faster than our mobile devices change. What does this mean for your enterprise IT network? Challenges, challenges, challenges to be sure. But perhaps it also means an opportunity to be in the forefront of IT security innovation--by implementing solutions that work.
It’s estimated that in today’s workforce, some thirty six percent of businesses now fully support BYOD – Bring Your Own Device, at least for mobile devices. Depending on the surveys you read, that figure rises to eighty six percent if you widen the scope to include any kind of support at all, even if grudgingly given. Some people hail this policy as a great way forward in motivating staff productivity, while others take issue with the potential for security vulnerabilities and the burden of supporting a more diverse range of equipment.
Telling someone to BYOD is literally a four-letter word in many IT departments. Also known as “bring your own device,” BYOD is a cloud-based concept which allows mobile devices to access a private or corporate network. Employees can access the network using their tablets, cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices.
Regardless of how you may feel about BYOD (bring your own device), employees have been doing it already for years and the trend is growing. The meteoritic rise of social media coupled with users who want access to corporate data while on the road has strengthened users' position. Businesses have begun to look at the benefits of it such as cost savings in machinery, but security risks still remain. Let's look at how you can make BYOD work for your company.
Now that BYOD (bring your own device) is such a dominant part of the workplace in many small and medium-sized businesses, many firms are beginning to look for additional ways in which these devices can be leveraged to increase productivity, and along with it, profits. IT consultants can be invaluable sources of information about how to accomplish these goals as part of an overall BYOD approach to processing daily workflow.
IT support experts are paying close attention to a newly announced ‘mobile device strategy’ for the US Department of Defense. The strategy emphasizes the essential nature of employee training in order for these devices to be used to their highest potential in the workplace. According to Teresa Takai, the Chief Information Officer for the department, "Although mobile devices are the new and popular item in today's commercial market, this strategy is not simply about embracing the newest technology; it is about keeping the DoD workforce relevant in an era when information and cyberspace play a critical role in mission success."
When business managers think of IT consulting, what comes to mind is most likely IT solutions that make use of laptops, desktops, and servers; in other words, traditional computers. While this type of IT solution is still the dominant form, it is by no means the only one. In today's mobile world, computing devices are smaller than ever before and frequently go by other names. The Android smart phone is an example of such a device.
In today's highly competitive business environment, successful companies are those that know how to build and maintain customer loyalty. This approach is not suited for companies who make their purchasing decisions based soley on price, but rather for those that are interested in evolving and growing their business. The key to growth is providing excellent customer service through timely and accurate advice and recommendations.
The old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is true in many contexts in the business world, but is perhaps most true when it comes to the decision to hire an IT consultant. By working closely with an IT professional, businesses can avoid the probability of proceeding on a trial-and-error basis when implementing a new system, program, or set of procedures. IT consultants have been down the same road before with prior clients, and can offer expert advice and guidance about the most cost-effective ways to achieve business goals.
The increasing popularity of BYOD (bring your own device) policies in small and medium-sized businesses is leading more companies to investigate the advantages of a managed programs approach to IT support and services. Under BYOD policies, employees use their personal devices such as smart phones or tablets in order to complete work tasks. Such policies improve employee productivity because workers are more familiar with the operation of their own personal devices.
Any business where employees are using smartphones or other mobile devices to process workflow must find ways to secure the devices themselves, but this strategy in and of itself will not be sufficient unless content is also secured. One of the best ways to select and implement a management strategy for mobile content is to work with a managed services provider with expertise in this area.
A growing number of businesses and other organizations are allowing, encouraging, or even requiring employees to use their own personal devices such as tablet computers and smart phones at work. This strategy lowers capital costs for the business and provides a positive benefit to employees since in many cases they end up carrying fewer devices, instead of a personal smart phone and one that belongs to the business; they simply carry the former. The state of Delaware has been at the forefront of the trend toward this model. "We're thankful that we were able to get out a little bit in front of it," commented Elayne Starkey, who serves the state as its chief security officer.
Businesses that have wanted to widely adopt a tablet-based computing infrastructure have been somewhat stymied to date by the lack of a Microsoft Office app for the most popular tablet in the world: the iPad produced by Apple Computers. That bar to adoption is now slated to vanish; according to released reports, a Microsoft Office app designed to run on the iPad will soon be launched. The app is expected to include the popular Office components of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. There is no word as of yet whether other Office family programs such as Access, FrontPage, or Publisher will also be released in iPad app form.
Much has been said of the potential security vulnerabilities of smart phones used in a business environment. Until now, however, hard data has been heavily anecdotal, focusing on breaches that occurred at one business or another that turned out to result from the misuse of a smart phone. That has all changed with the release of a new study conducted by antivirus firm Symantec.
Before wireless networks were common, hackers needed to find a physical route into a company's systems. Even when that meant using a dial-in modem, the possible attack routes were limited by the available technology. The spread of wireless communications, however, has given malicious actors an unprecedented level of opportunity. When this consideration is paired with the fact that WLANs, wireless local area networks, often possess weaknesses in their approaches to IT security, this can be a recipe for disaster.
The practice of BYOD or bring your own device is a somewhat controversial one in business circles across the nation. While employees may appreciate the convenience of using their own mobile phone for business as well as personal use, some companies are having second thoughts about this model. Security concerns play a large role in the conversation, as does the issue of employees possibly using company time for personal email and other non-work uses. This, of course, can become more frequent when a BYOD policy is in effect.
There is no doubt that integrating an employee's personal computing devices, items such as cell phones, BlackBerries, tablet computers, and laptops, with a business network can greatly enhance worker efficiency, allowing them to do more in less time. It can also increase employees' ability to progress through workflow when they are out of the office, whether they are at home for the evening or out of the country on a business trip. Unfortunately, the proliferation of handheld devices is placing a great strain on the Wi-Fi networks that businesses maintain to support their workflow.
Technology is changing at a fast pace, and nowhere is this more true than in the area of web applications. Organizations that use online applications to help grow their business may feel besieged by the ways in which deployment and use of these programs is rapidly shifting from traditional desktop and laptop to PCs to new devices such as tablets and cell phones. In addition, the proliferation of such devices and the demand for consumer-friendly apps has created an environment in which apps can be customized for many different classes of user. This, of course, only tends to increase the challenges of web app management.
As any IT manager knows, policies that instruct employees how to interact with technology will never be followed with 100 percent compliance. Sometimes, in fact, such policies cannot be perfectly followed since technology itself may take some of the decision-making out of the hands of individual employees.
One challenge to any business organization is that employee time is limited. In many cases, it is all workers can do to stay up to date with issues involved in their core workflow, which means that little time is left over for researching ancillary issues. This fact of life in the business world can have a large impact on the level of security present in the workplace, particularly now that mobile devices are becoming such an integral part of many firms both large and small.
When business managers think of IT consulting, what comes to mind is most likely IT solutions that make use of laptops, desktops, and servers; in other words, traditional computers. While this type of IT consulting is still the dominant form, it is by no means the only one. In today's mobile world, computing devices are smaller than ever before and frequently go by other names. The Android smart phone is an example of such a device.
In many businesses, enterprise use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers is on the rise. As company employees increasingly want to use such devices in the workplace to perform enterprise tasks, IT service desks and help desks are being flooded with queries on how to integrate them with company networks. According to recent surveys, help desks have seen an 86% increase in such requests in recent years, with 76% of survey respondents reporting that the growing need for mobile device management is stressing company IT resources past their limits.
One solution to this quandary is for companies in need of improved help desk functions to contract with a managed services provider. MSPs, unlike many business enterprises, already count mobile device management as one of their core competencies. An IT service desk run by a managed services provider will already possess the expertise needed to seamlessly integrate iPads and iPhones into the existing structure of a company network.
Using an MSP for this function will cut down on employee downtime as they struggle with device management and will streamline the support process to maintain enterprise workflow. Apart from offering technical advice in individual situations, managed services providers can also help enterprises develop coherent policies that support the appropriate use of mobile technology while on the job. This will help IT help desks and end-users to stay coordinated in terms of acceptable and best practices.
Mobile-integrated IT solutions can boost both efficiency and employee morale.