There has been much talk about the potential for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies to compromise company security.
Well, Virgin Media (News - Alert) Business now can prove it. And prove it with some scary numbers.
Roughly 51 percent of businesses in the United Kingdom have had their networks compromised by BYOD, according research by Virgin Media that polled 500 British CIOs.
“No one has so far been able to come up with the magic solution,” Tony Grace told InfoSecurity Magazine, chief operating officer for Virgin Media Business.
Grace is far from suggesting that businesses should attempt to kill BYOD, though. “CIOs shouldn’t see this as a burden, and in 2013 they can take the lessons learned and turn these personal devices into business enablers to really help drive the bottom line.”
While more than half of British firms polled had been compromised by BYOD, the research did find that smaller businesses experienced 25 percent fewer security breaches when compared with larger organizations.
There are many ways that BYOD can compromise a company’s security. The most obvious threat is moving sensitive corporate data outside the company’s firewall, where personal devices can be stolen or corporate data can be mistakenly released to the world by kids, pets or spouses using the same device.
“An employee sharing a BYOD-use iPad with his spouse certainly opens up potential issues such as corporate data loss or security breaches,” wrote Kevin Casey in a recent article for Information Week.
The hardened security practices often imposed on company provided devices are not usually followed on personal devices, either, and this can lead to insecure communication of business data or allow a security threat onto the network via the employee’s personal device.
One solution that an increasing number of businesses have begun using is mobile device management (MDM) solutions.
MDM lets businesses carve out a little corner of an employee’s personal device and create a space where business documents will adhere to existing corporate security policy. It secures, monitors, manages and supports mobile devices across mobile operators, service providers and enterprises. It often includes over-the-air distribution of applications, data and configuration settings for all types of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers.
Solutions such as MaaS360 provide multi-platform support to manage and secure all enterprise computing platforms and BYOD devices, come with a single console to let IT manage everything from device enrollment to security policies, monitoring, application and document distribution and help desk support, implement strong BYOD security and privacy support, and come with an easy-to use interface.
Good MDM also integrates with the likes of Microsoft (News - Alert) Exchange, Office 365, AD/LDAP, Lotus Traveler, Groupwise and Certificate Authorities for advanced authentication.
So while Virgin Media Business has shown that the dangers of BYOD are very real, there at least are solutions for businesses that take the threat seriously.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey