A safe introduction to BYOD: cloud-based automation software can make BYOD a secure and practical option for businesses. Howard Williams of Parker Software.

Position::DATABASE AND NETWORK INTELLIGENCE: OPINION
 
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It might not seem like it, but smartphones have only been ubiquitous for the past five years. Before that, devices such as Handspring's innovative Palm Treo series were too far ahead of their time to take off. The same rings true for bring your own device (BYOD), a concept that has existed for years but is only now able to be securely realised. This capability offers a tempting possibility for many businesses, as Howard Williams, marketing director of digital engagement specialist Parker Software, explains.

The last five years of development in enterprise technology has created a perfect storm, culminating in increasing interest in the idea of BYOD in workplaces. Businesses are considering this possibility as a way of extending the geographical reach of internal systems and networks, effectively streamlining the flow of data between employees, customers and even satellite offices.

Until this perfect storm, BYOD has been a pipeline idea, with relatively few employers implementing it fully, but there is now a genuine argument that it is a feasible concept. Concerns about device interoperability and security have held BYOD back, but now, due to the rise of cloud-based technologies, these are no longer a significant risk. Cloud-based software offers compatibility between all manner of devices, while cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) makes login credentials and data as secure as they were in an office environment.

Naturally, it takes time for IT professionals and business owners to understand fully how secure this makes their data. Some decision makers still have perceived reservations about transitioning to the cloud in light of numerous infiltrations of popular cloud networks such as Apple's iCloud. In reality, the cloud provides the same degree of security as storing documents on localised servers or computers--if a break in occurs the files are vulnerable.

Lost in transit

If there are still valid security concerns surrounding BYOD, they are the result of social engineering attacks or plain old human error. Any network incorporating personal devices faces the risk of data and files getting lost when people misplace them. Seamlessly transferring information between...

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