BYOD seems to be an unstoppable trend – it makes users more productive, it reduces costs, and it’s popular. But there are some important issues to consider when embracing BYOD. Dick Bussiere of Arbor Networks has identified access control and network and application visibility as two of the critical areas to understand when implementing BYOD policies for the enterprise, as well as smaller businesses. With so many businesses choosing to outsource their basic cloud requirements to managed service providers (enabling them to achieve greater cost savings and business agility benefits), the question of how an MSP can also positively shape BYOD strategies is similarly worth asking. However, these are areas where a cloud provider can help.
Visibility and control: With applications and data stored on the company’s own cloud infrastructure, it can be secured using security tools such as intrusion detection, log analysis, web application firewalls, etc.
Another security issue of BYOD cloud is mobile devices become a vector for attackers to enter the corporate network – for example, a user’s personal phone or tablet is infected with Android malware that provides an attacker with access to corporate assets when they connect it to the corporate network. The cloud provides a number of benefits here.
First as described above, limiting BYOD access through cloud based tools allows you to apply cloud security tools to monitor what’s happening. Second, using a cloud hosting provider makes it easier to isolate sensitive assets from the environments users are connecting to – segregating workloads so that the most sensitive data and applications are not connected to the tools BYOD users are accessing.
Access control: Leveraging cloud insfrastructure as the gateway to BYOD access to information an applications, or even virtual desktops, protects internal networks and assets by segregating workloads – creating a zone where personal devices can access company assets (with proper authentication and monitoring) but remain separate from more critical internal systems of customer-facing assets.
The importance of virtualization and multitenancy to securing BYOD makes it a natural fit for cloud environments, and your cloud provider will have expertise to bring to bear on the challenges of successful, secure BYOD implementation.
By Jake Gardner