Haider Pasha, CTO and head of Technical Services at Symantec Middle East discusses the BYOD trend
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is bringing new challenges to operators. Telcos offers to enterprises with devices are starting to become obsolete because of this trends. Workers are bringing their own devices, not only mobile phones, but laptops and wearables, to their working place.
Haider Pasha, CTO and head of Technical Services at Symantec Middle East is aware of the BYOD trend and the company is providing the right tools to its customer to fight some of the challenges that they might find.
“I think that companies need to understand is that if you are in business, you are in BYOD. Business has always been concerned about it in the last five years. What we see, whether you like or not, BYOD is happening, and it will continue to happen. In this region specifically. I think that businesses need to be prepared for it and to have a solid policy around BYOD and to ensure that they have the skills internally to support it,” he said.
Symantec has studied the regulatory framework across the region and worked on a specific policy framework for the operators, so that they can ensure security.
“When it comes to BYOD, we want to make sure that their customers understand the policy. We are always very careful that their customer, enterprise or consumer, is aware of the policy regarding BYOD,” he added.
Pasha added that, in the last five to six years, Symantec has been working on awareness programs to make sure that consumers and users of the technology understand “what is acceptable and what is not acceptable".
Symantec is developing work with telcos around security and information management in the region, especially in the UAE.
“Generally, with operators, we want to make sure that they are understanding what is available in the country. Then, we work on what end users should be allowed to use on the network. It doesn’t have to be open to every device,” he said regarding BYOD.
He added that operators and businesses need to understand the type of devices that are coming to the network.
“There has to be a certain policy that limits the type of devices that you can use in that network because some [devices] bring more security risks. Awareness needs to be raised in this field too,” Pasha said.
Some applications increase the security risk, as developers do not guarantee security from their applications. Symantec has done different research in the field to check what threats companies are facing when their staff bring their own mobile phone to the company.
“We found that 20% of the health apps are sending clear text messages to the cloud. What it basically means is that we download these health apps and if there is a hacker in the middle, he can trace our user name and password. We need to think about the number of accounts that we have on the internet and how many passwords we have. Users are generally using the same one for all accounts. If a hacker gets the password of one, he might have access to the rest of our accounts or even our bank account, for instance. That is a big challenge that we are seeing,” he said.
In order to prevent it, mobile phones need to be secure and differentiate personal data from company data to protect critical information.
“Symantec has a solution around the mobile where we can save the users’ data against the companies’ data. We wrap applications on itself and we offer some encrypted applications to protect the information,” he noted.
Pasha believes that operators in the region can provide packages to enterprises including a BYOD solution, always that they guarantee a secured network.
Another challenge that BYOD brings is the behaviour of the end user, as companies need to provide them with the knowledge to assure a safeguarded environment.
“There has to be an awareness campaign in the company, so that they can understand the security risks. Critical information can be lost. The user itself also have to take precautions. The specific education to those end users is very critical to BYOD,” he said.
Symantec worked on a survey in the UK on how workers use smartphones provided by the company and 42% of the people did not tell the enterprise that they have downloaded new apps or uploaded a new software. The research showed that 11% of the workers feel that it is ok to use the enterprise phone for other purposes.
“The organisation has to provide user awareness,” Pasha concludes.
Symantec's focus on the enterprise and the telco area in technology will be in three key areas: information security, information management and user productivity and production.
The company will develop its activities in the region and it will focus on its touch points: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Egypt and Pakistan.