BYOD Increases Costs To Businesses

The results of a study confirms that BYOD (bring your own device) increases costs to businesses. Respondents were asked if they believed allowing employees to connect their own devices (such as USB drives, mobile phones, portable PCs and home computers) to the corporate network increased costs – with 67% saying that it did increase costs.

When asked what caused the organization the biggest headache, almost half (43%) cited an employee device introducing a virus; more than a quarter (26%) pointed the finger at employees losing a device, with employees stealing data the biggest concern for 22% of respondents.

The survey was carried out by nearly 250 IT professionals in London. These IT professionals are at the front lines of protecting organizations – having to balance the desires of the workforce for flexible and convenient working practices, against the organizations’ requirement for reliable yet secure communications.

I believe the BYOD wave is being driven by companies, such as Apple, pushing their products as corporate ready or compatible – even if they’re not. We’ve been here before. It’s the same classic back door sales process used to promote PCs in the 1980s, where the large IT shops controlled both the glass house and what was on the desktops.

Back then users and managers would show how PCs were better, faster and more flexible than the ‘stone age’ solutions offered by IT. Ultimately IT was forced to adopt PCs as their corporate standard. The new twist today is that the interlopers are devices that will always be owned by the consumer, not the company.

The core of enterprise trust and authentication has been in-house enterprise identity management with the use of fat clients (i.e. Microsoft Windows) and web browsers that provide integrated authentication of corporate credentials. In the case of many government users, this is further strengthened by the use of smartcard standards such as CAC and PIV.

In today’s consumer-owned devices, the ability to adopt and sustain enterprise access and revocation controls is non-existent or impaired. In an effort to meet the demand of BYOD, enterprises are being forced to employ soft certificates with diminished security. While end-users might love the convenience, a lost or compromised device can fast become a nightmare for the CIO. Make sure you understand what you’re opening the organization up to when you allow, or even encourage, your workforce to bring their own devices.

Philip Lieberman, the founder and president of Lieberman Software, has more than 30 years of experience in the software industry. In addition to his proficiency as a software engineer, Philip is an astute entrepreneur able to perceive shortcomings in existing products on the market, and fill those gaps with innovative solutions. He developed the first products for the privileged identity management space, and continues to introduce new solutions to resolve the security threat of privileged account credentials. Philip has published numerous books and articles on computer science, has taught at UCLA, and has authored many computer science courses for Learning Tree International. Philip has a B.A. from San Francisco State University.