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Risk Free BYOD: Keeping Convenience & Security

Posted by on Aug 9, 2013

If you haven’t yet heard of BYOD, you soon will. The growing policy trend is transforming work culture around the world and will likely become the next standard for workplace technology. BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, meaning that offices with this policy allow or require employees to conduct official work on their personal devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Enabling BYOD has allowed enterprises and businesses to appeal to top-tier candidates while establishing a more flexible office culture. However, BYOD policies don’t come without their risks, as unsecured devices could become sources of hacking, malware, and leaks. But with a private third party cloud service, companies can permit employees to use their own devices without having to sacrifice data security.

BYOD Policies & the Cloud

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According to a survey of CIOs conducted by Gartner about 40% of enterprises will stop providing devices to employees by 2016. Instead, almost half of major enterprises will rely on BYOD policies to conduct business. The technology behind this rapidly growing trend is secure cloud storage. According to CTO and founder of iSpaces, Dermot Doherty, cloud computing creates “the framework from which BYOD can function. It also eases the burden from IT departments to find proper devices for their employees, manage service plans, and maintain the latest software and hardware upgrades.” Furthermore, Doherty asserts that cloud storage offers “a safe and manageable storage place for company information that is not stored on any particular device, but merely accessible from it.” But in order to capitalize on the benefits of Bring Your Own Device policies, “Companies need to change their current hardware security policies to accommodate BYOD, while utilizing the latest cloud-based services to manage their information,” says Doherty.

Employees & BYOD

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BYOD policies are also transforming the world of higher education. A recent survey of higher education CIOs shows that about a quarter of respondents already have BYOD policies in place at their college. Such policies also enable work from home positions and a more mobile workforce. With the cloud and BYOD, some businesses can do away with traditional office spaces altogether, interacting over the Internet and phone when needed. Through this new trend, companies can also tap the skills and resources of workers from all over the world, letting enterprises competitively shop for the best skills at the best price. To many modern workers time and comfort are just as important as salary and benefits. Ultimately, those businesses that can offer the greatest flexibility will be able to keep employee morale high, resulting in greater personal investment and more productivity.

When considering rolling out new BYOD policies, it’s important to secure sensitive company data exclusively on a private cloud. Otherwise, corrupted employee devices could spread malware throughout company infrastructure. Disgruntled employees and hackers can take advantage of loose BYOD policies to wreak havoc on company data and infrastructure. But instead of holding onto ancient office policies forbidding private devices, enterprises and businesses should seek out cloud services that offer user anonymity and strong data encryption. That way, even in this case of a security breach, sensitive company data would be protected. And don’t allow employees to upload company data to any other clouds, as many free public cloud services are highly vulnerable to data mining and hacking. IT departments should insist on universal cloud standards as a security measure in any BYOD policy.

BYOD Today

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BYOD in the Private Cloud

For many enterprises, finding a truly protected third party cloud service can be a challenge as many “secure” services on the market have security gaps that leave private corporate and consumer data wide open to third party attacks and even governmental spying, in the light of the ongoing NSA PRISM scandal. One cloud storage and sync service that sets itself apart from the rest of the market is SpiderOak. This service provides enterprises with fully private cloud storage and sync, featuring all of the benefits of the cloud along with 100% data privacy. SpiderOak Blue is available with onsite deployment and private servers or outsourced deployment through a private and secured public cloud server.

SpiderOak protects sensitive enterprise data with 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts and network devices can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices because SpiderOak never hosts any plaintext data. This way, even if programs like NSA’s PRISM continue to stand unchallenged, consumers can rest easy knowing that their data is truly protected and brands can gain diehard customer loyalty by publically securing consumer information. SpiderOak Blue’s cross-platform private cloud services are available for enterprises on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing for full BYOD flexibility.

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