Bring your own device (BYOD) is a policy for organizations that provides employees and businesses many benefits ranging from added flexibility, more worker satisfaction and lower costs. Also, BYOD is clearly becoming more prevalent. Some 62 percent of companies – included in a global survey – were supposed to have BYOD policies in place by the end of last December, according to TechRepublic. In addition, by 2017 half of employers will require workers to supply their own devices – such as tablets or smartphones – for the workplace, Gartner (News - Alert) predicted.
BYOD will likely be even more widespread if it weren’t for security concerns. In addition, there is a divide between the number of workplaces which have BYOD policies in place and the presence of employee-owned devices being used by the workforce. Some 20 percent of the 1,600 respondents in a 2013 LinkedIn survey said employee-owned devices were widely in use and supported by a BYOD policy. But at Microsoft (News - Alert), for instance, 67 percent of employees use their own devices at work, “regardless of the company’s official policy on BYOD. That’s a pretty big gap between officially sanctioned and reality — and that gap puts corporate data and applications at risk,” according to a report from Network World.
Given the widespread use of BYOD – even if it is unsanctioned – there are clear security risks. Cyber-criminals via wireless channels are getting access to data, according to the Cisco (News - Alert) 2014 Annual Security Report. In addition, mobile malware “is becoming a big problem, especially for devices utilizing the Android OS,” Network World (News - Alert) adds. The mobile malware is apparently coming from the apps downloaded by users.
To respond to these risks, Linda Musthaler, an analyst with Essential Solutions Corp., wrote in the Network World article, how Marble Security is providing a mobile security management solution for mobile devices and apps.
Among its capabilities are being able to enforce passwords and encryption, remotely lock and wipe devices, control a camera or Bluetooth, set policies for geo-fencing, and remove apps when employees leave a business or lose the device, she said. It also offers an app store for the enterprise – so employees can download apps.
In addition, Marble Threat Labs releases risk scores for users, devices, apps and network connections, and then analyzes the parameters via Big Data, she said. Risks also come from unknown or unprotected wireless networks, the report said. The Marble Network VPN “isolates users from network attacks and provides encrypted communications between enterprise applications and cloud services,” Network World said. Marble Messenger offers a messaging service, too, which encrypts messages and attachments, and meets privacy needs where there is BYOD. An example where it can be used is in healthcare.
As BYOD sees increasing use, these kinds of solutions will be more in demand to ensure privacy and security at organizations.