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The security guide to BYOD

Ben Rossi | April 10, 2013
With more companies adopting BYOD, security strategies should be re-looked.

Once that investment has been made and the implementation done, soon will come the time when management want to see ROI.

Such a thing for BYOD is difficult to measure because the costs and benefits are very distributed, and the potential cost savings found by not providing devices are often offset in management and support costs.

"Productivity benefits are often real but difficult to measure," Richard Marshall, Research Director,Gartner. "Extended day access to company email, for example, is very difficult to assess but can represent additional work per week for authorised staff.

"Providing direct access to work orders rather than field staff having to call in the office could save hours of travel time each week. The key is to define clear KPIs and track them. Companies should not expect instant results as people adapt to new processes slowly."

Intel refers to its own example in early 2010, when around 3,000 of its employees were using personally owned smartphones. By the end of 2011, this number had increased to 17,000.

"We found that employees who were using their own devices gained an average of 57 minutes of productivity per day -- an annual total productivity gain of 1.6 million hours for Intel," says Nassir Nauthoa, General Manager, GCC, Intel.

"The reason we witnessed such an increase in productivity is because users are usually more comfortable when working with a familiar device. They spend less time worrying about how to do certain tasks and are able to just execute them, which means a more efficient employee and in turn less time wasted for the business."

However, while more and more organisations in the Middle East embrace BYOD initiatives, Stephan Berner, Managing Director, help AG Middle East, believes most are still not tackling some of the biggest issues.

"The solutions I have seen are mostly around making sure there is a pin on the phone and that a user's phone can be remotely wiped," he says. "These are just sub functions of what a proper BYOD policy should consist off.

"Really, BYOD is about taking a holistic view of what happens to corporate data when it is traversing a non-corporate device and then understanding the threats that are imposed on it."

Despite this, the adoption and implementing of BYOD policies continues to expand, largely supported by the use of user credentials and access policies, independent of devices. Strong authentication and content security facilitate the adoption of logically defined perimeters, which include the realm of BYOD, according to Miguel Braojos, Vice President of Sales, Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa, SafeNet.

"We can say that BYOD is just a symptom of the changing landscape of corporate IT and its role in the company, from just an internal service provider to a business facilitator and stakeholder of the company success," he says.


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