Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) will help to not only empower your employees; it will save your company's bottom line. Without having to purchase extra hardware, that budget will be freed up for other crucial elements of business. But along with BYOD comes a wealth of concerns - one of which is security. Not only do you risk having your network compromised, you run the risk of seeing sensitive data lost as devices are lost or used improperly on your network.
How do you prevent data loss and a compromised network? That is simple - with some planning and the right tools. I have found five must-deploy tools to help secure your company's BYOD experience. Although these tools won't suit everyone's needs and platforms, they will give you a solid understanding of what you need to secure your company's BYOD platform.
Packetfence is one of the finest Network Access Control tools you will find. This open source solution allows you to control who/what/when/where can use your network. All of those BYOD devices that will be joining your network can be registered and controlled. So well designed is Packetfence, that you can enforce a policy that only registered devices can join the company network. Packetfence has an outstanding web-based management portal and allows you to: Control VLAN, manage guest access, manage violation types, control expiration, manage bandwidth usage, and much more.
Boxcryptor adds additional security to Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive. This security is simple - all encrypted files/folders that are synced with a supported cloud service are encrypted. The encryption is handled directly on the phone or tablet, so no passwords are ever transmitted. For an additional level of security, the app itself can be password protected. If the company itself doesn't use cloud services, many employees do - if only to enable themselves to be able to work from anywhere. For those that do, having a layer of encryption between that mobile device and their cloud service can mean the difference between compromised and secure data.
Divide is a unique tool that creates a hidden desktop on Android devices that users can employ for work data. This hidden workspace is fully encrypted and offers secure access to email, contacts, and calendar. Divide also ensures a perfect separation between personal and work data. Divide syncs with Exchange ActiveSync, Google Apps, Lotus Notes, and more. One other feature, users and companies will be glad to have is a private browser - to keep prying eyes away from company sites and web-based data.
DirectPass is an outstanding application to prevent business web-based logins from getting into the wrong hands. DirectPass installs a password protected, secure browser on your mobile device and allows the user to store bookmarks and site credentials safely. DirectPass also enables a one-click access to your most frequented sites as well as auto form filling.
FileLocker allows you to encrypt specific files on your mobile device. This app encodes the actual file, making it virtually unreadable, without decoding. Huge files are quickly hashed by encoding only the beginning and the ending of the file. Encrypted files are also hidden from view - making them practically disappear. FileLocker also tracks temporarily unlocked files - in case you've forgotten to re-lock them. If you're looking for an outstanding (and simple) way to protect sensitive company data on a mobile device, look no further than FileLocker.
BYOD doesn't need to be synonymous with a lack of security. There is no reason not to allow BYOD because of security - not when you can deploy a few tools to ensure your company data is safe from prying eyes. Some of these applications even allow the user to enjoy security away from the company. These are a no-brainer for anyone wanting to add BYOD to a company infrastructure.
The Bring Your Own Device phenomenon is reshaping the way IT is purchased, managed, delivered, and secured. Our editors and analysts delve into what it means, the key products involved, how to handle it, and where it's going in the future.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.