BYOD is both an opportunity and a threat

A survey titled “What is your approach to BYOD – Love it? Hate it?” and conducted among 316 IT and security professionals set out to assess the opinions of IT and network security professionals about how pervasive the BYOD trend is in the enterprise, attitudes toward employees bringing their own devices and the management and security concerns around that trend.

One of the interesting dichotomies of this initial survey was that fully 61 percent of respondents said they viewed the BYOD trend as both an opportunity to reduce IT costs and increase efficiency but also a threat to enterprise security.

When asked how pervasive respondents thought the use of personal smart devices is in the enterprise generally, more than 86 percent said very pervasive or somewhat pervasive. Only 11 percent said they did not allow personal devices.

“From the responses AirTight got, it appears most organizations are realizing that they are fighting a losing battle by trying to restrict employees from bringing and using personal devices,” said Pravin Bhagwat, CTO at AirTight.

“iPhones, iPads, Androids, Tablets are pouring into organizations. In today’s BYOD culture, AirTight often sees 3 times as many unmanaged personal devices in a customer’s airspace than corporate devices. The key to keeping your network secure is to manage those devices.”

The level of difficulty in managing the devices arises because authorized users need only their enterprise login credentials to connect their unapproved personal devices to even a WPA2/802.1x secured network without the knowledge or permission of the administrator, exposing the network to security threats, malware, and data leakage.

“It is important for the enterprise to get ahead of this increasingly common threat of unmanaged devices connecting to corporate networks and understand the benefits and capabilities of different technologies such as WIPS, NAC and MDM to control both the use of personal devices and the threats they bring,” continued Bhagwat.

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