BYOD frustrations spur interesting new security strategy

  • May 02, 2012
  • Dan Ford

Although bring-your-own-device policies are being employed in more offices every day, it would be a bit of a misnomer to say they are growing in popularity. Despite the widespread subscription to the mobile device management school of thought, IT teams aren't exactly thrilled by this development. With forecasters questioning the sustainability of this practice in the coming years, software companies may be called upon the deliver the next mobile data security innovation.

BYOD stretching IT thin

It's a turbulent time within most IT departments these days, as the simultaneous rise of cloud computing, social media and enterprise mobility combines with consumerization to create chaos. What's worse, there's no time to call a timeout and regroup as business executives continue to stress the competitive advantages of a technologically empowered workforce.

"If you just say, 'No,' creative people will find workarounds to make their lives easier," MorganFranklin chief technologist explained in an interview with Datamation. "It's what creative, tech-savvy people do, and it's part of why they're so valuable to your organization."

With that said, it may be more of a sense of inevitability, rather than excitement, inspiring new BYOD policies.

But even as network administrators start to come to terms with this technical and organizational sea change, experts like Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney are already placing an expiration date on BYOD's functionality. In a recent interview with PCWorld, he noted that the sheer number of devices and variety of stylings will make mobile risk management an illusory goal. Arguments are already bubbling up in IT departments, according to Dulaney, over even simple priorities like enabling operating system upgrades.

Data security innovations cut through the chaos

With overtaxed technology teams proving unable to provide the bulletproof mobile risk management their companies demand, Dulaney sees software vendors picking up the slack.

In his interview with PCWorld, the Gartner analyst discussed the emerging potential of what he is calling "beneficial viruses." Essentially, these tools would protect corporate data in a way similar to how Digital Rights Management software guards copyrighted media files. Authentication protocols will be embedded within the information to ensure that just because data is in a hacker's possession doesn't mean it's functional.

In Dulaney's opinion, the technology could even be extended to include even smarter capabilities like autonomous self-destruction. Instead of focusing on securing the environments that end users send data through and store data in, experts are coming to think that covering sensitive information in a safety suit wherever it goes may ultimately be the most effective - and sustainable - approach.

About the Author

Dan Ford
Chief Security Officer
Dan has been an information security professional for more than 15 years, and has worked for notable organizations such as XM Radio, Secure Computing, McAfee, Nominum, and Accuvant. He has extensive experience running security programs within the government segment; his most notable role was as Director of Network Security at the Transportation and Security Administration, which was the largest managed service contract within the federal government. Dan joined Fixmo in 2012 to drive security and technology innovation within Fixmo's suite of Mobile Risk Management solutions.

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