BYOD: Big security, small devices

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.

The problems of device security

The most common problem with consumer-grade devices in the enterprise is how to secure sensitive data. In fact, the process is a crapshoot.

Leslie Fiering, a research vice president at Gartner covering mobile computing, says, "In the past, the user would be provisioned a device by the enterprise, and you could assume there was endpoint security. But now we can no longer make assumptions about the user's device."

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