BYOD Security: Secure Collaboration for Your Business

Posted on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 @ 09:00 AM by Carlos Lahrssen

mobile communicationsAdvancements in technology have brought enterprise-level features and capabilities to consumer devices. No longer are we in an age where you have to live at the office to get work done, or to access programs to do your job. 

Technology is making employees remotely accessible, and with it—brings our personal mobile devices into the work zone for constant contact and collaboration.

As with every technological convenience, there’s often an exchange for the perk; with BYOD, the biggest fear is business security. Adapting to the trends BYOD culture, while maintaining the security levels built in to more traditional security system models is top-of-mind for today’s business owners and IT teams.

Mainstream Collaboration on the Go

It’s become easier than ever to communicate whenever and wherever you may be with real-time collaboration technologies. Mainstream, consumer-focused tools connect individuals every day, and are recently being introduced into the workforce.

  • See: Sometimes nothing beats an in person conversation. When you cannot physically be together, just seeing the other person’s face can help to make conversations seem more real and bring the added perk of body language for conversational context. Tools like Skype and Google+ hangouts are bringing video chat to life, to provide your team with a means for remote face-to-face interaction. 
  • Chat: For minor clarifications or small reminders, instant chat options like iMessage or Yahoo! Messenger help facilitate for quick hit conversations for your team members.
  • Share: Where limitations exist with simple email attachments, services like Google Drive and Dropbox provide solutions. Share files of any size and type between devices with ease.

While bringing consumers on-board with the latest collaboration technologies is essential to adopting them for your business, treating some of the above, free technologies as your business’ go-to may put sensitive business data and processes at risk.

The BYOD Threat to Unified Business Security

Organizations face a trade-off with BYOD. On one hand, businesses save on operational and hardware costs associated with providing all employee-used technologies. On the other hand, with employees connecting personal devices to the corporate network—and using those devices to access sensitive or confidential information—comes added security risks and de-centralization. The days of one, central system to protect business IT are gone; businesses are now tasked with protecting servers and data from hundreds of different devices, software and applications.

Assess, Enforce and Prevent BYOD Security Risks

To begin to take back the reigns on BYOD tech used in the office, consider the following policies and processes:

  • Assess any and all employee-owned devices used for business. Take inventory of every BYOD or company-owned hardware, serial number, and take stock of the applications in use.
  • Determine white-list and black-list limits. Are there any devices or applications you do not want employee-owned devices to have? What’s preferred? Making this list available upfront set expectations clearly for the entire team.
  • Consider private unified communications solutions for business. Maintain convenience and ease-of-use for the technologies consumers gravitate toward (Skype, or Google+ Hangouts), but arm your business with a professional version—one that protects business information, archives data securely, and is backed by a business contract (Qolabora, nexoUC or GoTo Meeting). 
  • Update mobile policies for BYOD employees. Consider opting in for remote wipe, standard security measures, sandboxed personal / professional profiles, and more.

Maintain Agile IT Processes to Continually Benefit from the Latest Tech

Merge the benefits of the latest in collaboration with secure business practices.  Consider private hosted solutions with secure connections, archived content, and the latest collaboration channels allow your team to maintain the benefits of BYOD—safely.

Keep an eye on the latest apps your team raves about. Chances are, it’s useful, innovative, and there’s a secure version your business can benefit from.

Consider investment in software like air-watch.com, mindwireless.com, and more to help you manage and protect your valued wireless assets.

What security measures does your business have in place to BYOD? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Topics: mobile workforce, unified communications, business productivity

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About the Author

Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen
Carlos Lahrssen is president and CEO of nexogy, as well as founder, president and CEO of LD Telecommunications, Inc., nexogy’s parent company. Lahrssen is an industry fan, follower and advocate — stay...read more