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BYOD to BYOx: Security Risks in the Mobile Enterprise

BYOD to BYOx: Security Risks in the Mobile Enterprise

We are entering the era of BYO - Everything. As enterprises become more mobile, IT has new security risks and challenges to overcome. Here's how you can get in front of the bring-anything risk.

Before long, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) will have looked like a walk in the park. Remember the driving force behind BYOD in the first place, the choice of whether to allow iPhones and Android phones into the workplace alongside BlackBerry models? No sooner had that dilemma been settled -- it turns out that IT really could cope with more than one mobile platform without the sky falling -- than the BYO brouhaha seemed to explode in every direction.

Today, smartphones are only the beginning of IT's collision with the consumer world. Workers want to bring in their tablets and notebooks running everything from Linux to Windows 8 to Chrome OS. Employees walk in the front door with Wi-Fi enabled SD cards and portable game consoles. Moreover, the paradigms workers use to control their data are changing. In the last decade, IT had to worry about thumb drives. Now, the challenge lies more in P2P networks, remote control services such as LogMeIn, and effortless cloud storage and synching solutions. All it takes is a tap or two to have a user's proprietary data copied from the device in hand to five other devices along with a couple of cloud services of unknown reputation and reliability.

About the Author

William Van Winkle has been a full-time tech writer and author since 1998. He specializes in a wide range of coverage areas, including unified communications, virtualization, cloud computing, storage solutions and more. William lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his wife and 2.4 kids, and -- when not scrambling to meet article deadlines -- he enjoys reading, travel, and writing fiction.

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We are moving from the era of BYOD to BYO Everything (BYOx). If IT thought the last trend was challenging, this one will likely magnify those challenges ten times over. The situation is even more maddening because, unlike in the BlackBerry days, IT is increasingly unable to dictate demands about if, how, and when users leverage their personal devices at work.

Cisco's 2011 Connected World Technology Report illustrates how companies are increasingly having to accommodate worker demands for social media, personal electronics, and similar facets of their private technology lives, even if keeping those things at work means taking a pay cut. That's the deal workers make with management, and IT has to play along.

Fortunately, BYOx isn't all stress and doom -- if IT is prepared.

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