Bring Your Own Device Means Protect Your Own Data
December 17, 2012
By Steve Anderson
, Contributing TMCnet Writer
While the bring your own device (BYOD) movement is set to not only continue gaining ground but also become a major part of many business operations in 2013, the increased dependence on devices not issued by companies brings with it a new set of challenges as well. Perhaps the biggest challenge is the protection of the valuable data contained on those devices. Several potential measures to protect data have emerged, but it’s important to understand how those devices work, and from there, how to protect the data contained on these devices.
The concept of data protection is extremely important. A recent study from Kaspersky Labs featured 31 percent of respondents claiming that security breaches were the biggest problem involved with BYOD programs, while another 27 percent cited the protection of data itself. Since only nine percent of organizations believe that banning mobile devices in the confines of business is a workable solution, that all adds up to one major concern: making data safe for mobile devices. Creating that safety always begins with a self-assessment. Knowing where the holes in security are is the best way to find out how to start fixing them, so a good point to begin is by analyzing the needs of the users. Consider the need for performing regular backups, so that damaged hardware doesn't mean lost data.
With the holes in the strategy effectively analyzed and prevented, there are other points in the strategy that are somewhat more concrete. For instance, it's important to not only require the use of screen lock and password systems, but also develop measures to monitor for compliance and ensure accountability. The same goes for establishing data encryption systems on the devices, but also for gaining access to data on a more fixed network.
Another big issue is the actual devices. The whole point of a BYOD system is employees bring devices that are, in fact, their property for the express purpose of performing work-related tasks with them. Thus, employees involved in a BYOD program are somewhat less likely to pay attention to regulations about the use of those devices, and the accompanying necessary programs like regular backups.
A recent Fiberlink study of 2,200 employees showed that 68 percent of those employees, when upgrading to a new device, don't have their devices either permanently wiped or destroyed by professionals when upgrading to new models. Additionally, a separate study from the Cloud Security Alliance showed that 80 percent of companies have a policy in place on mobile devices, though numbers on just how well said policies are being adhered to are somewhat more unclear.
There's no denying that the BYOD concept is an important one in business. There are a wide variety of positive facets to the BYOD concept that make the idea program very worthwhile. From boosts to morale to improvements in overall costs to the operation of the office environment, there are several great reasons to institute such a program. But in isolation, this actually leaves a business exposed to a variety of dangers, so protecting devices--and the data that businesses run on--is of primary importance to any business that launches a BYOD program to ensure that the data it depends on is always available and ready for use.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey