In the new world of “BYOD” – Bring Your Own Device – students are bringing their own cell phone, tablet or laptop computer into your environment. BYOD use is exploding and it presents a whole new set of challenges for IT departments.
Dangerous Tools in the Hands of Ten Year Olds
It is fascinating to watch a ten-year-old in the local electronics stores explain to Grandma how “this thing works.”
“Watch this Grandma,” she says as she sets up a video session and proceeds to chat with her friend who is away at camp. Yes, getting technology into the hands of students is great, but who is responsible for keeping your network secure, safe and readily available to everyone who needs it?
BYOD, Malicious Attacks, and Unsafe Enterprise Apps
Security challenges increase exponentially as wireless providers and equipment manufacturers race to get a device into the hands of every student from kindergarten to graduate school. Rogue app developers now use apps to access information and attack your infrastructure.
Uncontrolled Explosion of Apps Inside the Enterprise
According to Ian Murphy of Software News, the risks associated with enterprise apps and BYOD use is likely to get worse! He says, “IT departments often know nothing about the apps that students are bringing into their environments and, therefore, have no opportunity to conduct a valid risk assessment. Kids are downloading new games and other apps all day long and there are virtually no controls over the apps and the code embedded in them.
He says there are over 14,000 applications deemed unsafe and declares that
“the risk of losing data or getting hacked is greater from insecure mobile apps than is it from external hackers.”
So you have an evil lurking within your walls. They are using the devices and apps to attack from within and the unsuspecting accomplices in these evil deeds are your students, faculty and administrators who have regular access to student records, financial information, and the software that runs your infrastructure.
Protecting Your Infrastructure
With so many threats, managing your infrastructure is a full time assignment and government authorities are doing little to stem the tide of these applications entering the marketplace so it is on you to be on the alert for all the applications your students regularly use to access your network.
Experts suggest the following measures and more for protecting your environment – please see this Sophos article for the full discussion”
- Inform users– make sure users understand their mobile devices are potential weapons exploited by rogue developers
- Recognize the inherent insecurity of most WIFI connections – users connect from public WIFI networks that are open to the world
- Establish and enforce BYOD policies –Make sure devices are updated and compliant
- Prohibit “jailbreaking” –AKA “rooting”, takes away all the security measures inherent in the native operating system
Grouplink’s everything HelpDesk software can help
The typical IT department spends over 20% of their time dealing with security related issues. This means less time for managing user requests and inquiries. The everything HelpDesk®from Grouplink automates the help desk function and frees your staff to focus on managing the new world of one to one technology.