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10 essential BYOD secrets

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is all over the news and everyone has an opinion, but what are the most important things you should know? What will really affect your business? JUSTIN LEE, Country Manager at Blue Coat Systems shares his views on the topic.

BYOD may not be the newest phenomenon on the block, but it is still growing at a remarkable rate. How does this affect you? What does it mean for your working life? There are trends, issues, risks, concerns, and the secret desire to be the one with the coolest (or most) devices at work. So what do you, the user, need to know about BYOD, other than how to stack your iPad collection?

1. Gartner has described BYOD as the ‚”single most radical shift‚” in business since the introduction of the PC in the 1980s.They also raise a very interesting point mobile innovation is being driven predominantly by the consumer markets as opposed to the business ones. This means that technology adoption in the workplace is increasingly driven by employees demanding tablets and smartphones instead of the company or IT Department saying, ‚”Here is your BlackBerry.‚”

2. People will bring their own tablets, smartphones, devices and gadgets to work, load them onto the corporate network, and use them to access emails and data. If companies want to stay ahead of the game, then they need to listen to their employees and build strategies to cope with the influx of devices. Make sure you have the security and policies in place to support your staff and their devices. Ignore them at your peril.

3. Security has never been as important. Making sure that mobile devices have the right levels of security to protect your business and its data is a vital step in the evolution of BYOD. It sounds trite, boring and repetitive, but cybercriminals are increasingly organised and meticulous in their attacks. Be prepared and avoid the costs of downtime, lost data and fraud. For the user this means that they are at risk of losing more than their jobs personal data, bank details, information these are all fair game if your security is not up to scratch.

4. Do you know what your company policies actually are? So you have a device or three, you regularly take them around to functions and events. How do you know if your data is secure? Our latest Mobile Malware Report 2013 showed that ‚”Malnets‚”, the infrastructures that successfully drove nearly two thirds of web based attacks in 2012, are setting their sights on mobile users. The same report indicated that cybercriminals have identified the value in BYOD. Are you prepared? Is your organisation?

5. You’ve been set up to fail. Yes. There are not enough tools and practices in place to help you, the user, make good and safe choices with your mobile devices. You have a world of corporate and social information at your mobile fingertips and you have not been given the right tools to manage this securely. Now is the time to make the move towards securing your devices and understanding the risks.

6. The third party. No, this is not the Christmas party. This is the pile of apps on your device that have allowed access to third parties who now have access to the information that has been stored on your device. If you are using your tablet to carry information from work, or hugely private or confidential files, then you are running the risk of giving this to pre-installed malware that has arrived on your device courtesy of the apps you use.

7. Speaking of apps a recent survey by LogMeIn and Edge Strategies showed how 69% of social apps, and 52% of cloud sync and storage apps being used within small to medium businesses were originally introduced by employees. This means that your organisations adoption of these technologies is most likely thanks to you.

8. Mobile computing isn’t just your Android phone or your iPad. It is a wealth of devices like iPods and Ultrabooks, the last netbook, the hybrid gadget. It is all those items that have been carefully crafted to make life on the move so much more convenient and efficient. This side of BYOD is a gleeful leap into the freedom of access on the move, working from any place and any time, and allowing technology to craft the future.

9. Gartner sees a silver lining. Going back to the report mentioned earlier, they believe that we will ‚”likely see highly successful BYOD programs in the coming years. Many businesses will expand beyond smartphones and tablets and embrace BYOD for personal computers. Beyond PCs, it is likely that users will discover new uses for emerging devices not initially understood by IT planners, much like we saw with the iPad.‚”

10. Don’t fear BYOD. It may be new and it definitely has its issues, but BYOD has the potential to change the way the world interacts with data and the workplace. Make sure your devices have the right levels of security and stay on top of your corporates security methodologies so you can relax and enjoy what your technology has to offer.

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