Forget BYOD just Bring Your Own Office

IT's place in a BYO world is less and less about "thou shalt not pass," and more and more about "meet me half way" and this has important ramifications for SMEs.

The computer security buzzword that dominated last year was BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device.

That's where you let staff hook into the company network with their personal Androids and iPads, or use their own Macbook instead of a company-issued Windows PC. Clearly, there's a win-win here: you no longer have to pay to provide your staff with a second phone that they'd prefer not to carry around anyway. Of course, there's a concomitant risk, since you no longer have as much say over how BYODs are configured, or what they get used for outside work.

An entire industry around MDM, or Mobile Device Management, has evolved to support BYOD, with the better products from the more perspicacious vendors recognising that IT is less and less about "Thou shalt not pass," and more and more about "Meet me half way."

So why did I call BYOD last year's buzzword?

Not because BYOD is a fully-done-and-sorted deal, but because BYOD opens up a whole new can of security worms – what you might call BYOO, or "Bring Your Own Office."

If I can bring my own device to work and use it there, why can't I use it anywhere?

And that throws a whole new spotlight on a long-running network headache, which usually gets buzzworded as Branch Office Security.

After all, with BYOD thrown into the mix along with traditional distributed workplaces (e.g. home offices, a retail store chain, or a network of service stations), it becomes even more difficult to keep the bad stuff out, and the good stuff in.

So, what about your non-technical users, with no IT staff, perhaps using computers you didn't even supply, who are located on the other side of the harbour, the city, the state or the world?

Leaving them to their own devices


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