Bring Your Own Device: BYOD
By Rory McNamara
Traditionally, workers have brought their own tools to work: A carpenter carries his own hammer and saw; a landscaper mows your lawn with his mower, not yours, and the post office delivers your letter via its own strange Jeep/truck hybrid, not your Prius.
Now, this trend is spreading to the office.
Employees everywhere are also using their own tools—laptops, tablets and smart phones—at work. Such a trend makes sense for employers who avoid costly hardware purchases and allows workers to use the devices they are most comfortable with, increasing efficiency.
But privacy concerns abound with this intermingling of office and personal use.
Employers must maintain network security across a wider swathe of devices that also have night jobs out from under the protective corporate security shield. Employees, on the other hand, don’t want to give up all privacy to the watchful eye of the IT department. Balancing these concerns is a prerequisite to reaping the benefits of BYOD.
Fortunately, there are great software options available to do all the balancing for you. Some highlights include:
BYOD is based on the idea of synchronicity, but making your files accessible on all your many devices is going to require a cloud. And clouds require transmitting and storing your files on servers beyond the IT fortress, creating security risks that dim the appeal of BYOD.
CloudLocker circumvents these risks by creating your very own cloud.
One small gizmo located in your office stores 250GB worth of data—expandable with USB drives. With control of the cloud at IT’s fingertips, you can control who sees your files, as well as who can modify them.
CloudLocker will be available in June.
Self-styled as your own personal “Privacy Consultant,” Clueful alerts you to what other apps are doing with your data. Generating a privacy score based on what those apps are actually doing—in some cases surreptitiously—with your passwords, texts, calendar, calls, location and much more, Clueful informs users of threats to their privacy.
Interestingly, Clueful was removed from the Apple App Store for “unknown reasons.” Tech-watchers speculate that Apple was not pleased that Clueful catalogues users’ apps and communicates that list to its own servers.
BYOD suits the growing role of social media in business, but it also poses security and privacy risks.
CommandPost centralizes your social media campaign from many devices to one, allowing for easier oversight and greater efficiency. It also allows for easy insertion of those enthralling legal disclosure statements that really spice up any tweet or post.
An add-on feature, CommandPost Insight, generates campaign-specific analytics.
Available on any iOS or Android device, Divide does exactly what its name implies, divides your device into a “dual-persona” where work and personal uses coexist in separate corners.
Workplace IT retains control over the work side of things, without sticking its nose into the personal side. Bouncing between the two is a snap for users whose worlds aren’t neatly divided into two spheres: home and office.
More devices used for work means more exit points for your files. HoGo—Japanese for “to protect”—gives you control over those exit points through centralized file management and copy-protection.
Once uploaded into the HoGo cloud, you can send and share documents with whomever you permit. Copy-protection features allow others to view, but not save, your files.
Joining office with personal doubles your horizons, but it also doubles your passwords.
Luckily, KeePass reduces your phonebook-sized catalog of passwords to one, serving as a virtual password locker accessible wherever you and your devices are.
By entering the single master password, you gain access to all the passwords you’ve stored but forgotten. Once in the password locker, KeePass opens the URL you’ve listed or, for non-Internet passwords, allows you to cut and paste into the password field.
BYOD allows more devices to be used, but those devices are only useful if they’re equipped with software, and software can cost a lot.
Fortunately, LibreOffice, provides a free office suite that is comparable to Microsoft’s flagship product. Business-y programs include those for word processing, spreadsheet and slideshow making, to name just a few.
LibreOffice recently estimated that over 21 million individuals are actively using it.
Available on just about every device you’ll find, SpiderOak is an encrypted cloud service that allows you to put files from your work computer on your personal laptop, smartphone or other device.
What makes SpiderOak unique from a sky full of clouds is its privacy and security features; SpiderOak encrypts your files in transmission and storage, as well as separating your password from its own servers. The result is what SpiderOak likes to call “zero-knowledge” privacy.
SpiderOak Blue gives administrator status to IT departments, assuring work’s control over important files.
Naturally, BYOD devices will be removed from the office, creating fears of lost or stolen devices and the data that went with them. TrueCrypt eliminates these concerns.
This privacy-minded software allows users to encrypt everything they carry out of the office, even on thumb drives. Added security features keep your files hidden in a forest of random data even to those who hack your password.
Available on for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows devices, TrueCrypt is free to download.
Editor's Note: Need help navigating BYOD? See Close-Up: BYOD in the IAPP Resource Center.