CSOs grapple with pain points of BYOD

Security execs know they have no choice but to comply with the demand for personal devices in the workplace. But as these CSOs explain, it's a pain-filled process.

Rick Blaisdell probably understands the challenges of BYOD better than most. As CSO and CTO of Connect EDU, he's accustomed to working in an environment where people plug into the network and access data using a variety of computing gear. Still, he says, letting people do these things with their own smartphones and tablets introduces a new level of risk.

"I'd like to offer users the flexibility to use what they are using," says Blaisdell, whose company has 170 employees and climbing. "But if we have confidential data on their devices, we need certain safeguards in place to make us comfortable."

And so it goes for many organizations. BYOD is a trend few will be able to escape, nor should they try. Research giant Gartner Inc. recently described the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) programs as the single most radical shift in the economics of client computing for business since PCs invaded the workplace. That being the case, Gartner said, every business needs a clearly articulated position on BYOD, even if it chooses not to allow it for now.

"With the wide range of capabilities brought by mobile devices, and the myriad ways in which business processes are being reinvented as a result, we are entering a time of tremendous change," says David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The market for mobile devices is booming and the basic device used in business compared to those used by consumers is converging. Simultaneously, advances in network performance allow the personal device to be married to powerful software that resides in the cloud."

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