BYOD: Big security, small devices

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Securing consumer devices so they can be used in the enterprise isn't easy, but vendors are rising to the challenge.

The analysts have a term for it: BYOD, or "bring your own device." IT managers have their own term for it: Trouble.

Once, mobile devices were exclusively issued -- and managed -- by a company's IT department. With the broadening of the mobile device market -- and with stylish, powerful smartphones and tablets becoming commodity products -- can you blame anyone for wanting to use theirs for work?

The whole question of how to secure those devices in the first place is a spur for both innovation and controversy. The good news: The most recent wave of mobile devices for the consumer reveals that device makers are conscious of this issue, and turning more attention towards adding enterprise security features. The bad news: There are still plenty of devices in circulation without such security.

What are the vendors doing to help?

Device makers are well aware of the BYOD movement; they have been adding a variety of ways to provide enterprise protection to their most recently released products. The approaches are again as diverse as the companies themselves.

Samsung's approach has been to partner with third-party MDM providers -- among them MobileIron and SAP Afaria -- so that their products can be optimized to work on Samsung's hardware. Samsung calls it SAFE (Samsung Approved For Enterprise), since it includes enterprise features such as mobile VPN. John E. Girard, a vice president and analyst in Gartner's Info Security and Privacy Research Center, says using third-party MDM is "the best bet" when adding such features. "They do this stuff for a living," he says.

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