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3 considerations for CIOs in the age of BYOD

Is your company equipped to contend with the complexities of managing employee devices? Find out how you can keep your data secure.

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“Essential to mobile device management (MDM) is collecting metadata around the contents and context of data files.”

Many companies have implemented bring your own device (BYOD) policies to cut costs and reduce the administrative burden on IT. Now, it’s a question of how to best support those devices to meet business and security needs. CIOs are asking not only how to safeguard their confidential information, but also how it can be best managed.

The key point: Only once you know where data exists can you start to understand where data security problems lie.

Essential to mobile device management (MDM) is collecting metadata around the contents and context of data files. Using this metadata, IT leaders can gain greater visibility into how data travels between the cloud and on-premise systems in a hybrid environment. They can also pinpoint where security vulnerabilities may exist. Armed with this knowledge, organizations can shift away from purchasing software that manages employees’ personal devices. Instead, they can move toward managing specific data sets and where those data sets reside—adding value through enterprise data security.

Consider these three factors in defining how your organization will handle sensitive data:

  1. Mobile device management. CIOs can expect to see new parameters arise around mobile security that will require employees to register their devices with a MDM system. It’s just too risky to have people connecting their devices to a corporate network without some level of oversight. By requiring that users register a device with a MDM system, CIOs ensure that a secure configuration profile is installed. What’s more, this registration with a MDM solution lets an organization compartmentalize data so that corporate information is kept separate from an employee’s personal data.
  2. Choose your own device (CYOD). As useful as a MDM system is from the CIO’s perspective, a significant portion of MDM initiatives are doomed to failure. Consider this prediction from Gartner1: By 2016, 20 percent of enterprise BYOD programs will fail. This will likely be due to deployment of mobile device management measures that are too restrictive. 
    CYOD is an alternative to BYOD if you either don’t have the desire or capability to allow any device employees might bring. In fact, CYOD is the default at most companies, and has been for some time. Unfortunately, most CYOD programs today offer a limited list of older devices that often exclude Apple products. This makes the list useless for many users, who then sometimes circumvent the CYOD policies. 
    Obviously, the best CYOD strategy is to support the most popular phones and tablets. The problem with both CYOD and BYOD is that they focus on the device, not the data.
  3. Virtualization. The best way to move beyond device management and focus on data management is virtualization. Device virtualization software provides a container application that users download. Then, from within those containers, users work securely with company data from wherever they are.
  4. As BYOD programs continue to become more commonplace, questions around data ownership and management will only increase. The CIOs who manage to best strike a balance between employee productivity and data security will be best prepared to answer them.

    Read “3 high priority topics for 2014” for more insights on mobile management and data security.

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