In a recent article featured on Forbes.com, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is described as an inevitable component of the evolving office ecosystem. In the same article, a statistic borrowed from an IBM study & reveals that 81% of organizations reported their employees are using their personal mobile devices to connect to “company resources”. If you are an AV integrator or the head of IT, this statistic probably conjures fears of rampant network security risks.
But BYOD doesn’t necessarily equate to network security problems. Based on the current trend of using mobile devices in the workplace – secure, network compliant BYOD solutions are almost certain to arrive in the very near future. It is up to technology innovators to meet the market demand by developing, testing, vetting, and integrating the products to keep up with the trends we see around us. In short, embracing the changing workplace dynamics – and the products that support them – is likely the only way forward.
Like any other disruptive trend in technology, there are growing pains in the adoption phase. One of the biggest growing pains for BYOD in the workplace is security. So what does a secure BYOD solution look like?
We have identified 3 key criteria for secure, network compliant BYOD solutions.
1. Routable TCP/IP Traffic with Adjustable Base Ports
The complexity of many corporate and campus networks is often matched only by their uniqueness. After all, the many subnets and VLANs included on the enterprise network were set up to serve the unique requirements of the specific organization. Therefore the likelihood of any other enterprise having the same network setup is infinitesimally small. This is why it’s so important that BYOD solutions that hit the network feature routable TCP/IP traffic with adjustable base ports – so the solution can be configured flexibly to fit the network without creating additional, unnecessary work for the IT department. This is also important in order to avoid violating IT policy, which could prohibit the deployment altogether.
2. Controlling Access from all those Devices
Another security risk associated with BYOD revolves around the regulation of access in the workplace once these devices are supported on the network. To use a common use case as an example, if a wireless BYOD presentation is taking place in the conference room, how do you prevent uninvited users from sharing content to from their device and disrupting the meeting?
For this reason, access control is our second criteria for BYOD solutions. A solution to this challenge would be to offer multiple access modes that can be set in-room or remotely. Access could then also be locked by an admin or left up to users in the room to determine when beginning a session. Additionally, access control options could be dynamic, which means they could be changed during a meeting without interrupting the flow of information posted to the shared display.
In addition to these modes, it would be ideal if any session could be closed once all in attendance have joined. This combination of access control options creates secure access for nearly every type of meeting and use case.
3. Remote/Centralized Management
It’s a hard truth that nearly all technology crashes at some point or another, and those crashes can lead to big issues for the IT department and the network. That’s why remote/centralized control is such an important factor for BYOD solutions, especially large deployments.
Not having the ability to monitor, configure, and update BYOD solutions on your network from a remote/centralized work station makes larger, more complex deployments difficult to manage. Ideally, there would be a way to support remote/centralized management of every instance across the network. Network administrators could then monitor, configure, and update settings for any/all instances from their workstation anywhere on the network.
With BYOD becoming a standard in work spaces, security is and will remain a paramount concern and consideration for evaluating new solutions. The best solutions with work with your existing network and make it (relatively) easy for your IT department to securely deploy, monitor, and manage the system. BYOD presents many inherent risks, but many of these risks can and should be addressed by solutions that work within secure network environments.
Mersive is a leading provider of wireless media streaming and collaboration software for corporate, education, and government markets. Mersive Solstice software products allow any number of users to simultaneously stream content from computers, tablets, and phones to any display – wirelessly from their own devices using their existing network. Solstice facilitates collaboration among knowledge workers to foster engagement, facilitate decision-making, and improve productivity in meeting spaces and classrooms.