What does a consumer trade show have to do with the enterprise?

The 2013 International CES is, like, so two weeks ago, right?  Not only that, but as an enterprise executive, you may be thinking “that’s a consumer show, what the heck does it have to do with the enterprise?”

A lot, actually. Even with 2013 CES over and done with (no one is even tweeting about it anymore), all of those new devices, gadgets and systems for consumers definitely mean something for enterprises.  It’s because of that little thing known as “consumerization of IT.”  Yes, before you know it, those new devices are going to make their way into your enterprise, and your employees are going to want to use their new Sony Xperia Z to check emails and access documents on your network.

The trend to “bring your own device” (BYOD) to corporate settings isn’t really a trend anymore – it is practically status quo.  Unfortunately, many enterprises do not have any security protocols in place to secure these devices and the data they access.  I read recently that less than 10% of organizations are “fully aware” of all the devices that access their network.  Without such knowledge and policies to go along with it, enterprises are at risk of privacy violations, the introduction of malware into company networks, and data leakage. And, even if you have policies, you need to make sure they are communicated to employees and enforced.  Otherwise, they are useless.

When it comes to writing a BYOD policy, I like ZDNet’s list of considerations. My favorite piece of advice, and a great starting point, is the very first tip: “Review your current security policies for web applications (CRM, email, portals), VPN, and remote access. Most of these will apply to mobile devices as well.”

When looking at your security policy, remember that simple username and password authentication is not a secure way to protect sensitive enterprise data.  Using sandboxes, OTPs, smartcard-based multi-factor authentication and biometrics as part of your login and identity verification procedure can prevent data loss and protect your confidential information.  Apply these procedures to your policy, and you are on your way to a secure BYOD environment.

Excited now for BYOD?  Check out Engadget’s “Best in Show” products from CES 2013.  They’ll be coming to an enterprise near you soon.

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