IP EXPO 2015: Three of the top BYOD concerns for IT departments

The modern workforce (no matter what the industry) is becoming more and more mobile. That's something we all know and will have read a huge amount about in recent times.

This has, of course, meant that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become a hot topic among business of all sizes, whether they have a staff of five or 500.

At IP EXPO 2015, David Chen - Product Marketing Manager at Aruba Networks - spoke about securing the digital, mobile-first workplace environment and the challenges that IT departments are facing to ensure their employees remain both agile and secure.

He identified three primary IT concerns surrounding BYOD:

1. Mobility

The modern, digital savvy employee wants to be able to connect to work and have access to important documents anywhere, from any device, at any time. This will often mean connecting to insecure networks and, depending on the number of mobile devices in your company, opening up multiple potential avenues for hackers to get at your data.

As Chen put it, "the challenge is controlling who or what can connect to the network." I.e. putting restrictions on the types of documents employees can access to the types of devices that can be connected to corporate systems.

2. Physical security

Imagine the scenario: One of your employees has been accessing classified corporate documents on their personal smartphone and leaves it on the train on the way home from a post-work social.

That private and potentially damaging data is now effectively out in the open for anyone who finds the phone and knows how to get into it. Although there's not much companies can do to stop devices being lost in the first place, it's vital that security measures are put in place (be they biometric authentication systems or various levels of access privileges, to ensure company data remains secure.

3. Authentication

Mobile users will constantly be re-authenticating as they connect to different networks, which is where the importance of context comes into play.

By understanding who the user is, which devices they are connecting with and which applications they are running, IT departments can build up behavioural profiles and quickly spot if someone is using a device or trying to access an application that they shouldn't be.

Chen's final messages of "perimeter security doesn't work anymore" and "you can't really trust any device anymore" may sound rather ominous, but they are certainly wise mantras to live by where BYOD is concerned.

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