Understanding cloud and app security key to BYOD

Understanding cloud and app security key to BYOD

A host of businesses in the UK and around the world have begun embracing the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, as well as the cloud technologies and applications that come with it.

Research conducted by Frost & Sullivan found that 53 per cent of the 12,396 respondents say their companies have got on board with BYOD, allowing employees and businesses partners to connect their devices to the firm's network, particularly when it comes to cloud-based systems and applications.

Information security managers involved in the study admitted that the growth of the trend has meant that companies now need to do a lot more to understand the security of technologies and ensure their company is protected from potential issues that could arise.

This group of professionals expressed concern that businesses are simply not prepared for the speed at which the trend is growing. As many as 78 per cent of security experts that took part in the study considered BYOD a significant risk to companies. The figure represents an increase from the 2011 survey, when 68 per cent of respondents identified mobile devices as a major threat.

Almost three-quarters of respondents highlighted that new security skills are going to be required if the BYOD trend continues to grow, with application security the biggest concern (72 per cent), followed closely by the protection of cloud-based services (70 per cent).

Another 66 per cent suggested companies needed to get more of a grip on how compliance requirements are being affected with the prevalence of BYOD.

Michael Suby, Stratecast vice president of Research at Frost & Sullivan, said: "Whether approved or not, user-owned tablets and smartphones are connecting into corporate networks and cloud environments.

"Furthermore, the escalating capabilities of these devices, such as dual-core processors and multi-gigabytes of storage, add to the level of risk these devices pose to corporate assets and sensitive information. The positive news is that information security professionals are using a growing array of security technologies to stem this risk."

The business benefits associated with allowing employees to use their own devices include increased productivity and efficiency, as well as reduced costs. With these appealing greatly to organisations, it is likely that the BYOD trend and the use of cloud-based services and business application will continue to increase.

As well as the perks for companies allowing the use of personal mobile technologies, the desire is also in place to make the end-user experience more positive through BYOD and cloud computing, with 60 per cent of respondents saying it was important to them and their company.

With so much focus on security measures for businesses and employees using personal tablets and smartphones for work-related purposes, a host of new technologies are coming to the fore to boost security.

The top measures include the encryption of data, the use of virtual private networks, and remote lock and wipe functionality. Through mobile device management (MDM) companies are able to regulate the devices operating on their network and also perform a remote wipe of devices, which comes in handy when electronics containing sensitive information are lost or stolen.

Wim Remes, CISSP, member of the (ISC)2 Board of Directors, who announced the findings of the survey, said: "BYOD can actually improve security and enable the business to compete at a pace that was but a remote dream half a decade ago."