Cloud Computing Solutions and BYOD: Establishing Better Control

Posted by Dustin Smith, Chief Technologist
March 3, 2014

I recently came across an article at CIO.com – How IT Can Establish Better Cloud Control – and it touched on many of the items we blogged about back in August – Tips for BYOD Computer Network Security. In our blog at the time we cited a CDW survey that revealed tablet users are spending two hours daily on work related tasks and that 84% found that tablets make them better multi-taskers while at work.

I don’t think that anyone – even in IT – will doubt that tablets can assist employees in doing their job more effectively and efficiently. It allows employees to be more mobile and able to bring work home more easily, something that all bosses would promote to some extent. What makes the CIO article a little scary for IT is some of the findings it cites from a Blackstone survey. Here are a few trinkets for you:

  • SaaS app users are more than two times more likely to display their passwords on sticky notes than non-SaaS users. Fully 25 percent of SaaS app users display their passwords on such notes, while only 10.2 percent of non-SaaS users do the same.
  • Age plays a component. The study found 28.5 percent of 20-somethings keep their app passwords in plain sight compared with 10.8 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • SaaS app users are two times more likely to email work files they need to a personal account than non-SaaS users. The study found 59.1 percent of SaaS app users email work files to personal accounts, while 27.5 percent of non-SaaS users do the same.
  • SaaS app users are 16 times more likely to access work files through an app that IT doesn't know they have than non-SaaS app users. The study found 27 percent of SaaS app users attempt to access work files through an app IT doesn't know they have compared with 1.6 percent of non-SaaS users.

With these findings now etched in your mind, let’s review the tips we shared back in August. They are very much still relevant today:

  1. Passwords – Be sure to not just use passwords, but have a company protocol in place for how to create them; a good mix of characters, symbols, upper and lower case letters is much better than using ‘Password.’ That is not a password, folks! It’s also a good idea to use different passwords for different devices or apps. Using the same password for all your login needs simply exposes you entirely in the event of a breach.
  2. Keep critical data off of the device – Don’t download data to your mobile device. Rather, use it in the app itself and the close the app when you are finished.
  3. Mobile malware is a real issue – People tend to be less cautious when using mobile devices as compared to laptops or PCs. Not sure why, but malware on mobile devices is an issue and is growing along with our use of these devices.
  4. Beware of the cloud – There are lots of great cloud-based tools, such as Dropbox and Box, but they need to be managed carefully. Be sure to have a company policy that spells out ones that are acceptable and those that are not. It will make managing cloud computing solutions (from an IT perspective) much easier.
  5. Create a company specific BYOD policy – What devices are acceptable and which are not? What data can be accessed and what cannot? At the end of the day it all comes down to data, so be sure to protect it with a mobile device management (MDM) policy that covers BYOD.
  6. Consider VPN access – While it’s a little more complex, a VPN access policy can be a lifesaver, and it’s a lot easier than simply banning BYOD altogether, which isn’t realistic in today’s mobile landscape.

BYOD, cloud computing solutions, and all of the great tools that technology provides are designed to enhance productivity, and if managed correctly can benefit your IT group, your employees and your company. It just needs to be managed.

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Preview photo credit to Wiertz Sébastien.

About Dustin Smith Throughout his twenty-year career, Dustin Smith has specialized in designing enterprise architectural solutions. As the Chief Technologist, Dustin is responsible for the strategic direction of aligning the company’s growing consulting services with the client challenges he finds in the field, and he works closely with his regional architects to design new programs to address these issues.

Filed Under: Cloud Computing

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