On-the-go defense
On-the-go defense

Even for a relatively conventionally locked-down enterprise, like the one run by VyStar Credit Union, “managing security is pretty ridiculous right now,” says Brent Morris, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based financial institution's security analyst. VyStar doesn't support BYOD. Instead, all its employees' iPhones and iPads are company-owned, but Morris admits that they are often used for personal use.

Aside from the run-of-the-mill social networking or email applications that pop up, Morris says he has to be wary of the increasing number of fraudulent applications, which could target either the personal information of the user or the vital information of the enterprise itself. Some legitimate apps will collect personal or device information, such as serial numbers to a current location, making them another potential conduit for misdeeds and another management headache. The credit union has considered BYOD, but, says Morris, “The level of security issues that opens up is a Pandora's box.”

“IT professionals know that the BYOD trend is coming – or has already arrived...”

– Sanjay Castelino, VP of product marketing, SolarWinds

Industry surveys underscore what many experts have said: Companies are not necessarily prepared to embrace all the facets of the BYOD revolution and the emergence of unexpected applications that are coming with it. The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), a global community of information professionals, in mid-April released an industry-watch paper that looked at the ongoing migration to the adoption of mobile content applications. The report pointed up what it called the “consumerization of IT” as a trend that is changing the way companies do business. But, the study also found contradictions: 67 percent of respondents said they considered mobile technologies important or extremely important to improving business process, but only 24 percent said they were mobilizing content – leaving more employees to take matters into their own hands.

SolarWinds, an Austin, Texas-based IT management software vendor, released its own study in April looking squarely at the BYOD trend and attendent security concerns and other risks. Based on its survey of 400 IT pros, the company found that many were worried about the security issues, as well as legal and regulatory threats , the risk of malware, and associated management burdens that could come with employees using their own devices.

“IT professionals know that the BYOD trend is coming – or has already arrived – and many don't know how much support or oversight they should provide on personal mobile devices,” says Sanjay Castelino, VP of product marketing at SolarWinds. “They are trying to build the boat while sailing it, and are learning every day what the implications of BYOD are to their corporate networks,” he says.

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