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BYOD - Business Advantage or Mobile Anarchy?

06 Mar 2012

IT managers and corporate executives alike have to look both ways before crossing the mobile security street. Otherwise, they risk being hit by either the hard costs associated with cyber-attacks or the soft costs of lost productivity and efficiency when mobile security is too tight. The costs are real on both sides of the equation: a recent survey of 50 of the largest US multinational corporations found an average annual cyber-attack cost of US$5.9 million per company. 

Then there is the issue of lost productivity and user frustration associated with blocking access from mobile phones.  Frankly, when it comes to the ability to log onto the corporate network via a tablet computer, smart phone, or home PC – the average employee isn’t usually focusing on security. They simply want access to the corporate applications and data needed to do the job. And, in their mind, that access needs to be immediate. The consumerisation of IT, with its proliferation of devices and operating systems, is enough to make any IT manager yearn for more control and less risk. 

How then, can businesses cope with the new wave of BYOD mentality, without exposing the company to massive or catastrophic risk? The issue, according to SonicWall, is not one of control but of vulnerability. Too often, the existing security solutions that businesses deploy focus on control and blocking access. This is ill-suited to the world of mobile devices that are used both inside and outside the firewall…like using a sledgehammer to drive a small nail. Too much control creates a sluggish, underperforming network and slows business. What’s worse – it creates an army of angry employees all demanding immediate access to the applications and data they need. 

By deploying new technology that provides 360-degree insight into who and what is accessing a network – on a comprehensive, real-time scale – IT managers can avoid anarchy. Instead, they can allow their business to assess, react and make access decisions based on vulnerability. These emerging security and access technologies can now accelerate business agility and performance. So, the average employee will still have access to the network from their favourite device …but any malware, unwanted data or application will not.  And everybody wins. 

Sandeep Joshi is the country manager for SonicWall Inc., Australia and New Zealand, where he is responsible for SonicWall’s strategic growth in the enterprise market and its growing partner base throughout ANZ. 

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