Naysayers have been pronouncing the death of BYOD for a couple of years now, suggesting in its place such variants as CYOD (Choose Your Own Device, where employees can choose from a selection of IT-approved, IT-managed mobile devices). So far, however, BYOD shows no actual signs of demise. In fact, changes in the BYOD landscape point to continued growth. As you advise your customers on BYOD adoption and BYOD security this year, keep the following points in mind.
1. BYOD security awareness is on the rise, and so are BYOD security solutions
It always takes some time for security—and security awareness—to catch up to a technology trend. BYOD is no different. In the early days, many an organization launched BYOD initiatives with barely more than lip service to security, and BYOD security solutions were extremely limited. These days, a multitude of vendors offer BYOD security solutions employing a broad variety of approaches, from sandboxing, containers, and device segmentation to advanced antivirus and malware detection software. Additionally, BYOD security has become multilayered. It now involves not only the device, but the network and, oftentimes, the cloud. Organizations increasingly recognize the necessity of this multilayered approach.
2. Enterprise-grade BYOD security is becoming more available
Google's Android is the world's leading mobile operating system, with over a billion users as of 2014. This makes Android is a common sight at nearly every BYOD organization. In recognition of the special concerns raised by Android use in the workplace, Google recently released Android for Work. With Android for Work, Google aims to provide BYOD organizations with baked-in, enterprise-grade mobile security. Like many Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions, Android for Work relies on segmented work and personal user profiles and application and data management and enables the company to manage the business-related segment of the device. The Android for Work initiative further legitimizes BYOD, and BYOD security experts should keep an eye out for similar solutions to begin emerging from other mobile platform developers.
3. BYOD security increasingly involves the cloud
It's difficult to separate BYOD and mobility from the cloud, since the productivity of the mobile workforce often depends on data and applications being accessible to their devices from any location and any network, a task for which both public and private clouds are particularly suited. Because of this, most any conversation around BYOD security must also involve cloud security. BYOD organizations and the security experts helping to enable them should get up to speed on the following areas:
- Cloud application authentication controls, including multi-factor authentication and secure access portals
- Secured remote access technologies such as VPNs to prevent data interception on unsecured networks
- Client-side data encryption and other data-centric security tools
All signs suggest that BYOD is here to stay, no matter how much its opponents insist otherwise. And by now, many basic BYOD security challenges have been identified and are being addressed, making the trend a better bet than ever for companies that want to cut their device procurement and support costs while improving employee engagement and productivity.
Are you and your customers ready to enable the next wave of BYOD?