Enterprises in delicate balancing with BYOD

IT organisations grappling with security vs productivity as they try to embrace BYOD

Tags: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)DarkMatter ( CorporationVMware Incorporated
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Enterprises in delicate balancing with BYOD
By  David Ndichu Published  May 18, 2017

As the consumerisation of IT continues, Middle East organisations increasingly want to avoid managing the devices themselves, but rather determine what IT can control on these devices. In fact, organisations should be controlling what users do only on their work, not when they play – which means converting and elevating from the traditional mobile device management to a more holistic enterprise mobility management, Narain says.

Among the more popular BYOD trends evolving is a move towards securing the applications on the devices, and two-factor authentication with user IDs. For example, businesses can push which secure applications they want their employees to use, either through a mainstream app store or through an internal VMware app catalogue for instance, Narain says.

“Managing the device, pushing the needed applications, and securing applications for the internal device are all enterprise mobility advancements, but are notably not connected to the network architecture. This underlines the need for organisations to transform the underlying network architecture to support cloud-native apps,” says Narain.


Security remains the most potent challenge facing BYOD.

As stories of major corporations suffering breaches make news headlines on a frequent basis, more businesses are taking security seriously and working to implement measures to keep corporate information safe, says Sidani.

Sidani says the first step is developing the right policy, and addressing what Symantec refers to as the four A’s.

These include, Assessment of threats, conduct a risk analysis, run a policy audit and an apps audit, evaluate architectural planning and security; Accommodate policy updates, device management, private apps store, content repository, secure iPads/tablets, data loss prevention, authentication, encryption, CSP mobile security and basic app access; enable Access to mobile enterprise app enablement (MEAP) and mobile development, operational streamlining, service provider intelligence and information access; and finally realise the Advantage to be gained across vertical applications, mobile business process outsourcing (BPO), mobile e-commerce, and social and mobile integration.

“At Symantec, we enable BYOD for our customer by helping them maintain IT security discipline in the workplace, as well as remotely, on work-provisioned and personal devices. Our offering ranges from device and application management, threat protection and mobile identity and access,” Sidani says.

DarkMatter wanted to ensure that the professionals using the KATIM mobile have a choice of all the free apps out there but taking the security and resilience levels of those apps is much more and way beyond what those apps provide, natively including those that promise much more robust security apparatus, says Dabboussi. “This is by the nature of the requirements of the heads of corporates and governments who make up our clientele. We thus wanted to offer a completely tailored and custom-built device that allows us to deliver multiple layers of defence,” Dabboussi explains.

The proliferation of smartphones and modern mobile-cloud operating systems pose new network and security challenges to IT admins: the device moves with the end user, and when the device moves (away from the confines of the corporate firewall), the data moves with them.

Tools like VMware AirWatch allow enterprises to have finely-grained control over what IT can manage, says Narain. “The best BYOD security policies come down to transparency, so that organisations are open about what they are tracking for the users. For example, if a user loses the device, then the organisation does not need to wipe the whole device clean – IT can only wipe out the work-related content.”

There are many advanced features that Middle East organisations are beginning to adopt for BYOD beyond the enterprise firewall. For example, AirWatch Tunnel creates secure channels for specific applications, even those downloaded from mainstream app stores. “This is much richer than using VPN for secure access – once a device is authenticated to a VPN, the entire device has access to corporate resources,” explains Narain.

With KATIM, any data users have on the device is encrypted and secure when it sits in memory.  “This data is encrypted whether you are sitting within the perimeter of the corporate firewall or on a public network. What we have built on top of the apps is end to end encryption when you use those apps,” says Dabboussi.

When someone make a phone call via a KATIM app their own voice is encrypted, as are file sharing, chats or video conferencing. There’s potential for compromise on corporate-owned apps, which are beyond the purview of KATIM. But the KATIM platform still offers a higher level of security than your typical mobile devices and apps because of all the security measures put in place, says Dabboussi.

BYOD has also brought Bring-your-own-Applications, worsening challenges IT teams have with Shadow IT.

The rise of ‘Shadow IT’ has major implications for organisations as it brings increased risk, security and compliance issues, says Symantec’s Sidani.

However, as it is often driven by a desire for increased productivity and efficiency, it can also be viewed as a powerful business enabler if managed correctly.

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