Mobility is continuing to evolve and expand but business transformation is still in its early stages. In many cases employees are now moving faster than IT and personal devices are invading workplace environments. This is only going to increase this year with more employees bringing a higher number of devices into work. Along with laptops, smartphones and tablets, we will start to see more workers investing in wearable technology. This is reaffirmed by recent research by Forrester, which found that 45% of respondents would be willing to strap a connected device to their wrist.
With this influx however, some new pain points are emerging that must be addressed to accelerate this transformation. Security, lack of visibility and control of the ever increasing number of devices connecting to corporate networks are top of this list, creating a chaotic environment when it comes to managing these devices. Here’s how to control the chaos that will no doubt increase as organisations welcome new trends such as BYOD, wearables and the Internet of Things.
Make The Network Visible
The right wireless network is a key component in increasing employee engagement, enabling members of staff to have access to websites and applications that increase their productivity. With more organisations incorporating their own BYOD policy, particularly as wearables begin to enter the network, seamless wireless connectivity will boost workers ability to complete tasks.
In business, it is essential for the network administrator to have visibility of what all these new devices and the applications on them are being used for to ensure both network and employee performance remains high. There are many good applications available that add value to an organisation, however there are also many that can be detrimental to productivity, and to network performance and security. This makes it crucial for organisations to be aware of what data is entering the network and to be able to take action where required.
Private Pre-Shared Keys (PPSK) is one way an IT department can give different levels of access to network users depending on the type of device and its owner. This can be used to ensure that certain employees have access to relevant applications on their devices. It can also ensure that employees avoid getting distracted by any ‘unofficial browsing’.
Avoid Getting Hacked Through A Lightbulb
User driven devices are not the only devices connecting wirelessly. Organisations are connecting a larger array of intelligent systems and services to the network. Ranging from smart fridges though to smart surveillance systems, and each of these pose a different security threat. Towards the end of last year for example, researchers with Context Information Security demonstrated the security vulnerabilities of a smart light bulb. By gaining access to the master bulb, researchers were able to control all connected light bulbs and so expose user network configurations.
Using a pre-shared key is the typical way that these light bulbs and other devices connect to a network. The problem this evokes in traditional wireless networks however is that with a single pre-shared key, organisations end up needing a different wireless network for every device that they connect to the IoT, which is unfeasible.
PPSK combines this security with simplicity, preventing a network from being hacked through smart devices. One group of keys could be used for guest access or BYOD whereas lighting systems could be controlled by yet another group of keys. This would mean that if the security of a lightbulb gets compromised, the hacker would not have access to the rest of the network, which minimises the risk.
Use Your Network To Make Better Decisions
Investing in infrastructure that not only allows accessibility and security but enables businesses to capture data will result in a number of benefits. As organisations move towards greater connectivity through these new trends, intelligence collected can be used to increase productivity for example. By analysing big data, employers will be able to understand the best way to keep their employees motivated, creating a more engaged workforce. When looking at ways to maintain control of the high number of devices entering the workplace, it is vital that businesses implement the right wireless network. This will keep the network secure, and enable organisations to understand the best ways to keep productivity high.