5 BYOD Security Concerns That Enterprise Developers Must Address

28 Aug, 2015
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The idea about accessing and sharing information anywhere and anytime has become extremely popular in 21st century life, both personal and professional. The manner in which mobility has removed geographical boundaries, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has also wiped away time boundaries. This has helped employees not only to be productive after working hours, but also to time-shift commitments. BYOD has also brought significant advantage to productivity.

This major trend has led Gartner to predict that half of all employers may impose a mandatory BYOD policy by 2017. The research company also said that by 2016, about two fifths of global enterprises will abandon personal computers, tablets and phones and encourage employees to use their own devices in the office.

Standing in the middle of this strong demand, software developers creating apps that will be used purely by employees, will rather have to develop applications that work with many different devices inside and outside the corporate network. Basically it is about designing systems and architectures that extend computing processes outside the business and into the cultures of the consumer, mobile worker and supplier.

In the present scenario, where the demand for mobile devices is steadily rising, enterprise developers need to address few concerns in BYOD environment.

  1. Choice of application and device dependency – The type of application should be chosen very carefully. Mobile app developers always ponder whether it should be native or web. Previously, enterprise developers used to go with native applications and it was a safe choice. In addition, for every native application they wrote, that made rip and replace a little less likely. However, when it comes to BYOD, web development is highly recommended, unless there is a large number of in-house native application professional to re-develop the front end.
  2. New ways of authentication – In BYOD, an organisation needs an alternate route of authentication, even if it is installing devices that integrate with the existing authentication infrastructure. During the process, developers should not just add a quick application-specific authentication into the application. This kind of technique often annoy users as they might encounter password and username collapse. The ideal option would be to authenticate against the enterprise’s system.
  3. Responsive design – You will easily know the screen sizes that have been used by the company if it has to do with enterprise development. However, in case of BYOD, you do not have that choice. With responsive design technology, IT and businesses have a perfect solution of managing a variety of applications needed to strengthen the BYOD phenomena. Responsive design allows designers to create an application which can dynamically adjust the layout as per the device on which a website is viewed.
  4. Maximizing security – As expected, BYOD security concerns is one of the biggest challenges organizations face when they are looking at an enterprise wide adoption of BYOD. There are several steps a business can take to mitigate security risks:
  • Always plan for risk management in terms of security protocol and protecting data, in the event of loss/theft of the device
  • There should be strict security policies enforced on all mobile devices that have access to various business data
  • Enterprises should secure data at every point- the source, in transit to the user device as well as at endpoints
  • Ensure that your IT department has the ability to erase all data remotely, if required in the event of an unexpected security breach. In order to avoid data loss, consider having the ability to perform a remote backup
  1. Network management – Managing multiple networks is a colossal challenge. Not only are network administrators struggling to keep up with the exponential rise in traffic with BYOD, but they are also simultaneously faced with rising demands of the virtualized and cloud-ready data center. And customer expectations, as usual, are increasing disproportionately. They are looking to access business applications both from fixed and mobile workstations, without any glitches. Enterprises should consider integrated and not fragmented solutions that give their network administrators better accessibility and control in managing the networks.

Users expectation have increased manifold, and a successful BYOD strategy needs to meet those expectations. Applications need to be much more usable. While appearance is not a functional requirement, ugly applications can be frustrating to use, and attractive applications make a good impression on the stakeholders.

Anirban Guha
Software Engineer at coMakeIT

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