Keeping Your Network Secure in a BYOD Environment

It Doesn’t Have to Be a Headache

Contributing Writer

Hard to escape these days is the trend toward bring your own device (BYOD). Many end-users now own consumer grade devices that nevertheless have comparable computing power to their work devices, and now they want to use their own devices to get work done. Organizations want happy, productive employees, so BYOD seems like a winning strategy, but how do you keep your network and your data secure when you open up access to new devices? Here are some important considerations, tips, and advice on how you can implement BYOD at your organization – and keep your data secure.

Accept the Process
First things first. BYOD is here to stay. Historically, there has been this idea that an organization needs to keep the inside stuff in and the outside stuff out, but that has already started to change. Now users are expecting the ability to move and be more productive both inside and outside the organization, so the most important place to start is understanding that concept. Then you can move on to a strategy for managing this new policy on a day-to-day basis: managing access controls, leveraging the equipment that you already have, and maintaining a good, secure policy across all your end-points.

Evaluate Your Infrastructure
Fortunately, in many cases, what you need to implement a BYOD strategy will already exist in your infrastructure. But you’ll need to look at wireless connectivity, VPN connectivity internally and externally, and switching and routing devices in your infrastructure. Additionally, you’ll want to look at the identity policy management that you have in place and how network management at a device level is handled across your organization. Not to worry, though – Cisco’s got a number of solutions that can make that transition significantly easier and less painful.

Painless Upgrade with Cisco
Because of Cisco’s commitment to backwards compatibility, a lot of devices that customers have purchased in the past are more than capable of allowing them to implement BYOD capabilities into their infrastructure. For example, the Catalyst 6500 chassis that was sold in 1999-2000 are still out in the field, going strong – at least 75,000 of them. So even if you need to buy new devices for your infrastructure, they’re built to grow with organization as it expands and needs change. In addition to that, Cisco has also developed its own Smart Architecture for BYOD, which includes its Smart Solution. This comprises four BYOD strategy components: wireless connectivity, network access control, secure mobility, and network scalability.

Ease of Management
Since the infrastructure needed for a Cisco BYOD implementation is fundamental networking that a lot of organizations have and are familiar with already, there’s no extensive training needed when you’re working with Cisco. Plus, Cisco is working toward consolidating management with features such as LMS prime, which gives you single pane of glass network management, and the Identity Services Engine, which provides consolidated policy and security management. Cisco is committed to working with you to take the more complex components of BYOD and make it easier to use and implement.