final thought Mobility Mayhem The freedom to use your own device for work may seem like a convenience, but with great convenience comes great security risk. Anurag Kahol, CTO at Bitglass discusses the security solutions available when it comes to the mobile workforce. T he typical nine to five is no longer. Employees now get emails on their personal phones, have transatlantic business calls outside normal working hours and continue to work at home on laptops and mobiles over the weekend. The ability for employees to use their personal devices (BYOD) to access corporate information is great for productivity; they are no longer confined to getting everything done within a certain number of hours or within the company walls. However, if left unmanaged, accessing company data from a personal device can create a number of security implications. No visibility equals vulnerability When an employee leaves the corporate network behind and accesses corporate email and files directly from their unsecured device, the organisation loses its traditional ability to protect corporate data as it would within the network. This means that an employee could unintentionally upload a virus within a corporate document when out of the office, or bring an infected device to 46 | October 2017 work and enable it to permeate the company network. Outside of work, IT teams have no visibility into employee activity when files are downloaded to a personal mobile device. This means that an employee could be sharing data in an inappropriate way, and the IT team would have no idea. What’s more, if an employee’s device is stolen, an unknown hacker could gain access to troves of corporate data, or even commit identity fraud and attempt to login to the employee’s email – all with the IT team being none the wiser. So, what’s the solution? Banning BYOD certainly isn’t the way forward. For employees who work from home, travel for business and need mobile access to corporate data, restrictions around the use of BYOD can be incredibly counterproductive and frustrating. Such restrictions would be archaic in today’s connected world, and it’s likely that an annoyed employee would simply find ways to work around them. Some organisations have turned to mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) in a bid to get a handle on corporate data. These tools involve an agent being installed onto the employee device, giving IT teams total control and visibility of the endpoint. Whilst this might sound appealing to the IT team, it’s a solution to be considered hesitantly, because many employees are wary of having such software on their personal device. This is because the software agent on the device can track the person’s location, see which applications are installed and even see their browsing history and personal files and photos. Ultimately, many see MDM and MAM as an overly invasive means of securing BYOD.