Better BYOD management could ease strain on employees, IT departments
February 14, 2014

More organizations in the public and private sectors have deployed advanced technology in the past several years, including cloud computing, big data and enterprise mobility solutions. BYOD has likely had the biggest impact on IT management, and has also served firms with some of the most difficult security challenges and privacy issues that must be tackled to ensure long-term data and network protection. 

Despite the fact that so many organizations already allow their employees to use personal smartphones, tablets and portable computers for work functions, few have optimized their environments for security and productivity purposes. Business leaders should remember that more advanced authentication and management practices will almost always yield most positive outcomes. 

From the IT perspective
SC Magazine recently reported that BYOD often puts massive stress on the IT department, and that the increasing ubiquity of this trend is making it difficult for technology professionals to accomplish tasks on a broad scale. According to the news provider, Forrester's most recent State of Enterprise Mobile Security study revealed that 70 percent of companies in Europe and North America have made mobile support their highest priority for this year. 

The diversity of devices and applications, as well as the sheer volume of new technology entering the corporate infrastructure is causing major problems for unprepared IT departments. From a productivity standpoint, these professionals need to ensure consistent support of devices and apps, and a seamless user experience for employees who go from personal computers to smartphones on a regular basis. 

From a security standpoint, the challenges get even more intense. SC Magazine stated that the Forrester study also revealed 15 percent employees have accessed data from unsanctioned devices. It is not easy for companies to handle access management when there are so many endpoints in play, and mobility is only going to continue to further confound this particular issue. 

"These consumer trends are putting enormous pressure on security professionals to determine how far to open the company "gates" to personal devices," Forrester analyst Chris Sherman explained, according to the source. "Security professionals have to face this reality head-on and come up with a plan to embrace worker productivity through BYOD."

From the employee perspective
ZDNet recently stated that overly restrictive BYOD policies are among the most dangerous approaches to mobility, and that Gartner believes this behavior will lead 20 percent of BYOD programs to fail in one way or another. This is not necessarily a novel belief, as experts have been warning of the dangers of overly stringent or, on the flip side, completely unrestricted policies. 

The source pointed out that Gartner also found password use is rare among BYOD employees, and that the complete lack of advanced multi-factor authentication strategies in place could pose an even deeper threat. 

"Whether via formal BYOD programs, or just via devices coming in the back door and being configured to access corporate systems, the use of consumer technologies in the work environment presents a threat to IT control of endpoint computing resources," Gartner Vice President Ken Dulaney stated, according to the news provider.

With more fluid access control and authentication solutions, companies can avoid these issues.