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Securing your network from bring-your-own-device (BYOD)

by AirTightTeam on Jun 12, 2012

What makes network administrators and security professionals tear their hair out - the "cool" employee who is carrying 2 or 3 or more devices and only one of them is actually issued by the company. I admit, I am one of them but not sure how "cool", just a gadget junkie. There is a lot of advice around these days about how to manage this deluge of personal smart devices entering the enterprise, but I found much of the advice given by Software Advice and CRM Market Analyst, Ashley Furness, very solid in her recent post, "Strategies to Secure Your Enterprise in the New World of BYOD". Some of it may seem obvious, but, often the obvious is overlooked for just that reason. We all know folks who do not change their password from "admin". Ashley's article is a good addition to the body of work out there about the challenges of BYOD in the enterprise. One area which is not mentioned, however, is wireless intrusion prevention (WIPS), which is the natural ally of MDM. With MDM, employees have to have an incentive to get the agent on their devices. WIPS solves that problem. AirTight WIPS as an example protects the network from being accessed by unauthorized devices - those which have credentials but are not an authorized device - by allowing administrators to set up rules which will automatically block unauthorized devices (not just rogue APs) from connecting to the network.

AirTight recently concluded a study of IT professionals to understand their attitudes, challenges and methods of dealing with BYOD and it became obvious that there is a lot of concern around this subject. As the BYOD tide rises, organizations will need to embrace various smartphones and tablets for the enterprise applications, while at the same time tackling the security challenges from consumerization. On one hand, it is necessary to ensure that the IT assigned authorized smart mobile devices are free of malware and that these devices and the data on them can be centrally managed and monitored by IT. On the other hand, IT will be required to deal with unmanaged personal mobile devices attempting to access the corporate IT
assets, since such personal mobile devices may not be within IT’s device management reach.

Additionally, increased consumerization of the smart mobile devices may also heighten the risk of rogue Wi-Fi connections on the enterprise premises. As a result, an all-encompassing approach to BYOD security will entail protection of IT assigned devices, gatekeeping the unmanaged mobile devices, and blocking rogue Wi-Fi connections. Security systems are available today which address different parts of the BYOD security problem. (See the tables below) The right combination of these security systems can be useful for a comprehensive BYOD security.

Topics: Wireless security, BYOD