Feature: Soapbox Musings

Symbiotic Mutualism: A BYOD Love Story

Author: Michael Peters
Published: September 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

The mass proliferation of consumer computing devices is in full force with only escalation on the horizon before us, and any technologist who thinks that they can stop it or officially banish it from their little kingdoms should think again. Those troglodytes will only lead a frustrating existence in a world where resistance is truly futile.

The best approach is to intelligently manage technological change, rather than pursue the book-burner’s philosophy.

At a fundamental level, there is no discernible difference in mobile technology from other forms of computing technology. They all have connectivity to networks and peripherals; they all have storage capabilities; they all have operating systems and they all interface with information through the usage of applications. So my question to you is this; why treat mobile devices any differently than any other computing endpoint?

The real focus of our efforts should be in the control of intellectual property, including sensitive information. Let’s not forget there is nothing new about our mission — only the increasing amount of endpoints that may access that same information. Let’s not lose sight of what our successes and failures have been in managing this situation to date, and not suddenly declare that consumer electronic computing devices pose a brand new threat to our organizations and to our personal identities. The real threat is in the exponential increase in our lack of control; being exposed and once again, we are relegated to troglodyte status.

The consumerism of computing devices has forced the issue into the spotlight, as these gizmos infiltrate our corporate bastions. Who doesn’t want to take advantage of the benefits brought to us by smartphones and tablets? Employees and executives alike are all clamoring to use their personal choice of endpoint for more than personal purposes. Why carry a personal smartphone and the company issued mobile device, when one will do the task better? I’ll be the first to raise my hand in support of this trend. Despite the new challenges in corporate management, which should not be diminished to accommodate this new technology wave, information security executives have everything already available to accomplish this task from enterprise grade software management tools to policies.

The biggest challenge is when the organization does not own the mobile device, and so finding that prudent point of symbiotic mutualism between embracing the usage of these devices in our corporate environments and ensuring that employees comply with the rules of engagement is crucial. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement is in motion! (Source: Network Computing)

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Article Author: Michael Peters

Michael D. Peters has been an independent information security consultant, executive, researcher, author, and catalyst with many years of information technology and business leadership experience. He has been referred to as the “Michelangelo of Security”. …

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