Employees increasingly want to use their personal devices for work, so what’s stopping IT from making it happen? In a recent study by IDC, 83 percent of IT professionals reported that security concerns are among their greatest barriers to enabling employee-owned devices. Without a way to provide secure access to data, applications and other network resources, IT departments are often hesitant to allow “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs to get off the launch pad.
Just because your company doesn’t formally support employee-owned devices, it doesn’t mean they aren’t still accessing your network. Ron Gula, CEO of Tenable Network Security in Columbia, Maryland, says it’s a significant issue that a lot of companies don’t have a platform in place to control access and security. “They still have mobile devices accessing the network,” he says.
There are a host of routes open to IT when it comes to managing mobile devices. Here we look at two options for implementing security around personal devices: mobile device management (MDM) and virtualization.
MDM platforms offer a range of features and security levels. These programs are designed to authenticate devices onto the network and control access into various data sets and applications on a per-user and/or per-device basis. Additional layers of security, such as allow/block/quarantine (ABQ) may also be available. “When you have ABQ in place, you can set up the filtering so that only devices that meet certain criteria filters are allowed in,” says Troy Fulton, director of Product Marketing at MDM provider Tangoe Inc., in Orange, Connecticut. That also means that rooted or jailbroken devices, which are increasingly targeted by malware, can be blocked from accessing and potentially compromising the network.
The level of device oversight varies, but MDM platforms, such as those available from Tangoe, allow IT to control which applications users can download onto their devices, they can require that the device be password protected, and they can even track voice, data and SMS usage of the devices in real time. This becomes especially important as mobile carriers ramp up the price of data packages. “Data usage is increasing because these mobile platforms are designed to input