Data security: it's bigger than tech

The global tech race was witnessed live at CES Las Vegas, in an exciting week showcasing the ‘tomorrow’s world of virtual reality/augmented reality, internet of things and data security.

Data security was a theme that continued throughout the week and is proving to be a concern, not only in tech but across the world. Events such as the recent hacks to Apple upgrades, terrorist social media take overs, etc. are prompting us to ask “how safe is your business?”

CES is a consumer focused event – but in today’s world consumer electronics and business IT are intrinsically linked.  ‘Take the shiny new iPad you treated yourself to at Christmas.’ It’s great for watching movies and playing Angry Birds – but it’s so great that now you want to take it to work and use it there.

“No problem – I’ll just get the IT guys to hook it up to the office network and we’re there. “ Except it’s not that simple.  Bring your own device (BYOD) can be efficient and reduce costs, but it can also introduce significant risks into your IT environment.  For example, everyday security software for home use is not as robust as required for company data.

For companies who allow BYOD, a controlled approach should be taken for introducing any new technology – including home devices. The IT manager should be asking:

1. Who owns the device? (Traditionally this was the company; BYOD are owned by the user)

2. Who manages the device? (This could either be the company or the user.)

3. Who secures the device? (Accountability is not something that goes away for a user because they personally own the device. Data carried on it is company owned.)

Answering these questions is fundamental to both understanding the risks and taking advantage of the rewards of BYOD. The best defence to securing BYOD’s is to take the same approach as for devices already on your network.

Moore Stephens’ IT Audit team are currently advising clients on how to implement secure BYOD.  Our Director of IT Audit, Mathew Ring, regularly brings his iPad to work, although he claims never to have played Angry Birds on company time.


Mark Ayres