As soon as someone mentions the topic of BYOD, the issue of security will inevitably be close behind. The bring-your-own-device movement has been embraced by many companies, small and large, and is gradually becoming a common part of the typical IT landscape.
Yet one weakness is a glaring problem: security. When people are using many different personal devices to access sensitive company data, making sure that all these connections are safe is a huge challenge. If your organization already has a BYOD policy in place, it's crucial that you begin working on an effective, easy-to-implement security solution immediately.
The rise of BYOD
It's easy to see why BYOD has been adopted. It gives employees mobility with anywhere access as long as they have an Internet connection. When people are able to use a laptop, tablet or smartphone they're already familiar with, they won't have to get up to speed learning how to get acquainted with a new device while learning the ropes of a new position. Depending on your business, it can also potentially save you the costs of purchasing new equipment.
Companies have gotten on board with BYOD for all these reasons, all the while leaving their IT departments to figure out how to deal with the security problems. Since this policy has become so common, with over half of businesses planning to have the option in place, security has been a point of focus for years, and different strategies have been suggested, running the gamut from small scale (such as strong passwords) to larger-scale tactics (such as a virtual desktop infrastructure or VDI).
Desktop virtualization to the rescue
VDI is essentially a means for employees to perform their day-to-day work and access information similar to how they normally would on a dedicated workstation. The difference here is that, with VDI, each employee is given a virtual desktop that allows them access to a data center housed on a company-owned server. No information is actually stored on their laptop or tablet; it's all saved on the company server, so if a device is lost or stolen, no sensitive information would be lost and no unauthorized access would be gained. In addition to being a strong solution to security concerns, a VDI system streamlines IT processes such as software updates. One upgrade means an upgrade for everyone on that server, rather than installing software on each individual device.
No security solution comes without some caveats, and VDI is no exception. Some points to keep in mind include that server problems won't just affect one user, but all of them depending on that server. VDI has the potential to provide greater server availability than a traditional system, but when problems do occur, they'll affect everyone. A VDI system will also require a strong network due to bandwidth needs, which will lead to some increased IT expenses.
Alleviating the security concerns of BYOD
Every business owner wants employees working at their maximum productivity. Any efficiencies can add up to gains for one's business and the adoption of personal technology into the workplace has been argued as a means of increasing a company's productivity and even saving costs. Today hiring someone means potentially hiring that person's personal technology to boot. With the security issues that arise from BYOD's arrival, VDI can be the solution to these concerns if implemented properly, in addition to making sure employees are familiar with the effective security choices they can make to prevent any breaches from occurring.
Action Item: If your organization already has a BYOD policy in place, it's crucial that you begin working on an effective, easy-to-implement security solution immediately. With the security issues that arise from BYOD's arrival, VDI can be the solution to these concerns if implemented properly, in addition to making sure employees are familiar with the effective security choices they can make to prevent any breaches from occurring.