How To Balance BYOD And Big Data - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile
News
7/3/2013
10:48 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
7 Key Cloud Security Trends Shaping 2017 & Beyond
Dec 15, 2016
Cloud computing is enabling business transformation as organizations accelerate time to market and ...Read More>>

How To Balance BYOD And Big Data

BYOD movement can be a security challenge for IT departments, and big data adds a new level of complexity. Here are some points to keep in mind.

Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour
Samsung Unleashes New Mobile Devices: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)

The bring-your-own-device-to-work revolution, a.k.a. BYOD, may make employees and executives happy, but it often means migraines for the folks in IT. End users love using their favorite smartphones and tablets at work, but IT is stuck with the arduous task of supporting multiple devices, safeguarding sensitive enterprise data, and generally making everything work together seamlessly.

This challenge is particularly acute in the small and midsize business (SMB) market, where IT staffs are already stretched thin. An expected increase in the use of big data applications, many of which use mobile devices as data-collection tools, may compound the problem as well.

Jeff Kaplan, CEO of Breakthrough Technology Group (BTG), an IT and managed service provider, often sees this dilemma firsthand. "You have this struggle within the SMB market," said Kaplan in a phone interview with InformationWeek. "[End users] want to have one device for personal and work. They want to be able to drop their laptop, pick up their phone and get the same user experience."

[ Businesses need to do a better job letting consumers know how their data is being used. Read Privacy Concerns: Big Data's Biggest Barrier? ]

But IT departments often aren't prepared. Kaplan cited a recent survey of SMB leaders by market research firm StrateSci, in which just 22% of respondents said they've developed a BYOD policy for data access via personal devices. The study, conducted for cloud services provider Cbeyond, also found that 32% of SMBs aren't sure or don't believe their business information is sufficiently protected.

This lack of preparedness has more than one cause, but one major factor is that workplace computing has changed dramatically in short time, and many SMBs have been caught off guard. "Think about a couple years back," said Kaplan. "I hand you a computer. That computer is rubber-stamped by IT. It's kind of locked down. And that's pretty much it."

But that's changing as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and other cloud-based services gain popularity among businesses. "Today, many companies are adopting SaaS-based services, [which] can be used from any device. You can go to a Web browser through a tablet or iPhone and get to Salesforce or somewhere else," Kaplan added.

His four most important considerations for BYOD are security, policies, infrastructure and management. "Number one is security," Kaplan said. "BYOD is going to grow when people go to more of a centralized compute model."

An SMB needs to have a clearly defined set of BYOD rules and regulations for its staff and contract workers. Kaplan said, "It's one thing to say, 'OK, we're going with BYOD,' but where are the policies associated with that? If you don't have that [in place], how do you know if someone's doing something wrong?"

He added, "BYOD has certain use cases that are great fits for it, [such as] hiring part-time workers, consultants and call center workers. It makes perfect sense. But you can't do that in an environment … where your internal security policies are exposed because of it."

Standardizing and controlling an organization's computing infrastructure is another crucial step, as is effective management of your network. And while some of these considerations may seem obvious, that doesn't always mean that SMBs will implement them correctly.

The main reason: Lack of IT staff. "They can't just assign a person or a group of people to go off on the side, do this, and then come back," said Kaplan. BYOD is "very, very hard from an IT standpoint," he added. "They're already running 24/7 with their apps, and now they're asked to deliver new capabilities and technologies layered on top of that, and they don't have the infrastructure or the means to do so."

One solution for SMBs is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) where IT pros centrally manage thin client devices. With VDI and BYOD, Kaplan said, the data that workers access never leaves the data center.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey to see where organizations are on the road to services-oriented IT and to highlight both challenges and benefits of this transformation. Take the InformationWeek 2013 Services-Oriented IT Survey today. Survey ends July 5.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll