Category Archives: BYOD

BYOD, Management and Security

This week’s Economist has a short article on mobile device security. Rightfully so, they recognize the security threat is data loss as opposed to malware. As discussed in previous posts, the BYOD challenge is about management of devices.  Data loss prevention is most effective when it is aware the device exists and is accessing, sitting or transmitting certain information when it should not be.

We have been asked recently about the potential growth in the BYOD space.  It won’t come from malware.  It will come from a proliferation of devices, from the common smartphone to the latest wearable, that is retaining and transmitting information the enterprise simply does not want transmitted. And please remember, data is not just spreadsheet attachments in an email,  more importantly it is video, taken innocently or not in the office, that poses data loss problems.

That is the threat of BYOD.

BYOD: Powering the “Shield”

Regular followers of this blog know that BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a hot button issue of mine.  In recent posts, I’ve explored some of the challenges faced by the never-ending flood of personal devices in the workplace – security, compliance and management key among them.  But hopefully, I’ve also conveyed an enthusiasm for all BYOD has to offer.  More than a powerful enabler of productivity, it also helps employees be more responsive to customers.  When you think of it, this is every company’s goal. 

There are many strong opinions about BYOD, and I can take up more than a few blogs on the topic.  But the truth is – whether you love it or hate it – BYOD is here to stay and companies must be prepared to handle all it brings.

As a first step, companies must devise a strategy that specifically addresses security, compliance, and management.  It’s more than securing the individual device – but ensuring the actual network stays safe.  Going beyond security is addressing such things as mobile application management, or how enterprises ensure access to apps that improve employee productivity.  It’s also about application enablement – determining which apps to include in the mobile device toolkit — and then limiting those that pose a threat.  The biggest challenge is delivering all this functionality under one umbrella – in a cohesive package.

That’s why I’m so pleased to introduce BYODShield.

Today, Westcon announced our teaming with BlueCat and Fiberlink to provide an industry first – a subscription-based service delivering a multi-layered “shield” that specifically addresses security, compliance, and management issues created by personal devices in the workplace.  We’re tightly integrating formerly disparate network security and enterprise mobility offerings — packaging them alongside our deep GOLDShield technology pre- and post-sales support model – and creating an all-in-one solution.  It’s a service that virtually eliminates current and future headaches associated with provisioning, servicing, securing, and managing thousands of personal devices. 

But it’s much more than a simple partnership.  Really, any distributor can do that.  We’ve successfully brought together BlueCat and Fiberlink to jointly write code exclusively for Westcon.  The functionality delivered by this deep collaboration can’t be found anywhere else.  We’re really proud of the result – integrating award-winning technology with our unsurpassed expertise in security and unified communications. 

When it comes down to it, BYODShield is about demystifying the complexities of managing and securing personal devices in the workplace.  Instead of trying to contain BYOD, we help you embrace it.  And it’s something you’ll see us do even more down the road.  Because the real future of distribution comes through offering resellers a consistent, unified, and integrated approach to solve their most complex technology challenges.  And a good distributor will tackle the integration and do the legwork for you – backing it with all services necessary to make it work.

Like anything new, BYOD is a scary proposition that can cause nightmares for any CIO… But before losing any sleep, take a step back and see what’s possible when leveraging the right tools.  And be sure to check out more about BYODShield at http://us.westcon.com/byodshield

 

BYOD – Framework

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device

Our conversations with the channel (vendors, resellers, service providers, and systems integrators) around BYOD break into two categories – Security and Productivity. It sometimes helps to frame the categories of the conversation for our customers, and thought we would share some of that here…

Security
BYOD creates a number of security challenges and it sometimes help by breaking down the different ways to look at what needs to be secured:
1. Securing the actual device – We have been working closely with vendors and partners in Mobile Device Management (MDM). This is a very hot topic, and continues to see extensive growth. We are engaged with Mobile device management solutions in three different forms around the world – cloud based, appliance based and data center software based. Within MDM there are four areas of functionality to be assessed for any given solution – Hardware control, Software control, Network Services management and Security management.

2. Securing the network – Our focus here has been around Network Access Control. Reason being, our long-history in networking allows us to work closely with our partners to help them jump on NAC quickly. NAC was last really utilized when companies installed their guest wifi networks, and now that same type of concepts can be applied quickly for a BYOD zone within the wireless architecture as a quick “if you do nothing else, at least do this” type solution. In addition to NAC, IPAM is another area getting more and more activity with our channel partners. There are some excellent vendors who have focused on this market for years, and with BYOD, they now step back into the spotlight again.

3. Enterprise policies – Many of our security partners are working closely with customers on the development or enhancement of employee policy write-ups necessary as BYOD continues to grow. There is a global implication that companies really need to understand since the legal definition and acceptability of wiping a device, as an example, is different around the world.

4. Securing the Data at the source – in addition to the security capabilities that may be available with your MDM solution, organizations still must evaluate their Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies and solutions. It’s obvious on paper, but sometimes not caught in the BYOD planning, that there has to be a review of the firewalls, WAN opt, Application Acceleration tools and appliances.

Productivity
1. Mobile Application Management – not to be confused with MDM, MAM is all about how the enterprise makes available apps that improve productivity of the employee who decides to utilize their own device. MAM helps the organization properly present to the employee the corporate developed apps as well as the 3rd party apps that are part of the “approved app store” that the enterprise wants to present to the employee.

2. Infrastructure – As organizations take on multiple devices per employee, it is only natural that the bandwidth of the network will need to grow. Wireless/Wired security, port size, and alternate network access technologies such as 4G/LTE and Femtocells are viable components of the new network architecture.

3. Application Enablement – so….about those apps….organizations will turn their developers loose on mobile app development, which is to be expected. But, in addition to those tools, there will be more and more utilities that organizations will incorporate into their toolbox. Two that we see becoming very popular are 1) tools that provide direct access to corporate data. Think of these as mini pipelines into select corporate databases with raw interfaces. And 2) Tools that convert existing corporate applications to fit alternate BYOD form factors such as tablets, phones and phablets.

Hopefully this gives you a framework for how to think about your BYOD project, and perhaps even a mini-checklist for you to use as you consider different aspects of the impact BYOD will have on your organization. This is by no means exhaustive, but has shown to be a good start for our resellers when they partner with Westcon and Comstor to provide BYOD solutions to their end-users.