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Freedom vs. Control

The BYOD challenges, I think, falls under an age old dilemma: Freedom vs. Control

No sooner had I posted BYOD–The Hottest Trend or Just the Hottest Term, last week than yet another BYOD survey hit the news.  The full results will be released in a webinar tomorrow but SANS announced their First Annual Survey Results on Mobility Security.   Last December, SANS launched its first ever mobility survey to discover if and how organizations are managing risk around their end user mobile devices.  The survey of 500 IT pros found that a meager 9% of organizations felt they were fully aware of the devices accessing corporate resources, while 50% felt only vaguely or fairly aware of the mobile devices accessing their resources.  In addition, more than 60 % of organizations allow staff to bring their own devices.  With so many companies allowing BYOD, controls and policies are very important to securing business environments.

Courtesy: SANS Mobility BYOD Security Survey

Deb Radcliff, executive editor, SANS Analyst Program said, ‘Another interesting note is that organizations are reaching for everything at their disposal to manage this risk,…Among them are user education, MDM (mobile device management), logging and monitoring, NAC and guest networking, and configuration controls.’  Less than 20% are using end point security tools, and out of those, more are using agent-based tools rather than agent-less.  According to the survey, 17% say they have stand-alone BYOD security and usage policies; 24% say they have BYOD policies added to their existing policies; 26% say they "sort of" have policies; 3% don’t know; and 31% say they do not have any BYOD policies.  Over 50% say employee education is one way they secure the devices, and 73% include user education with other security policies.

The BYOD challenges, I think, falls under an age old dilemma: Freedom vs. Control.  We see this clash in world politics, we’ve seen it pertaining to the internet itself, we may even experience it at home with our offspring.  The freedom to select, use, work and play with the desired mobile device of our choosing bumping up against a company’s mandate to protect and secure access to sensitive corporate information.  There can be tension between a free and open culture verses the benefits of control and information management.  Sometimes people equate freedom with having control over things yet when it comes to controlling others, many of us feel slightly uncomfortable on either end of the leash.  Sometimes oversight is necessary if someone does not have self-control.  BYOD is a revolution, a drastic change in how organizations manage devices and manage access to information.  If you look at revolutions through the years, often it’s about freedom vs. control.  I’m certainly not suggesting an employee coup of the executive floor but remember there are two distinct and diverse powers at play here and successful BYOD deployments need to involve both people and technology.




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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter Silva covers security for F5’s Technical Marketing Team. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Bringing the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together, he covers training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5’s security line. He's also produced over 200 F5 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. Prior to joining F5, he was the Business Development Manager with Pacific Wireless Communications. He’s also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others. He earned his B.S. from Marquette University, and is a certified instructor in the Wisconsin System of Vocational, Technical & Adult Education.