By TerryAnn Fitzgerald, SMB Solutions Marketing Manager, HP Networking
With more reasons than ever for employees to BYOD – bring your own devices – into the workplace, make sure your small business understands the risks and implications of unauthorized network access.
The influx of personal smartphones, Apple® iPad® and similar devices can be overwhelming, but it can’t be overlooked. Today’s small- and midsize-businesses need to be aware of the risks and implications of employees bringing personal devices into the workplace. I asked Kevin Secino, my colleague with HP Networking and Mobility, what considerations SMBs should make when allowing employees to “bring your own devices” (BYOD) to work. His response was security and wireless performance.
Keep security top of mind
“Security is a concern across all horizontal markets. First things first, SMB clients need to have a security policy in place,” says Secino. “Employees, especially younger generations, are going to bring in their personal devices whether you’re aware of it or not.” To protect your business and its network, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of access am I going to grant those who plan to use their personal smartphones and tablets?
- Should they get full access to the network?
- Should outsiders (like non-employee visitors) have full access or limited access?
- What’s my policy as a small- and midsize-business? Do I have a security policy to begin with? (This is a definite must—it will protect business owners as well as employees, who themselves should understand the risk to their personal information when they log on.)
Due to size, lack of resources or time limitations, SMBs often overlook the need for strong security measures and practices. Recently, Symantec conducted a survey that found a disparity between expectation and reality when end-users bring their personal devices to work. The survey showed that while generally end users understand the productivity benefits of bringing personal smartphones to work, they don’t quite comprehend the security implications.
One particularly alarming statistic found that 78 percent of end users think that allowing employees to BYOD either 1) has no impact on or 2) only somewhat decreases the overall security of their company’s networks.
This cannot be stressed enough: security is a real issue when employees bring their own devices. Secino encourages small business owners to become more informed about the risks, which include: network hacking, intellectual property or confidential data loss and identity or credit card number theft, just to name a few.
Avoid Wi-Fi under-performance
Another issue that has begun to affect larger enterprises is a lack of Wi-Fi coverage. In a recent Gartner report, the technology research firm found that “the limited transmit power and throughput of these devices [Apple iPads] mean that enterprises need to deploy 300% more access points to get the same wireless performance characteristics as industry laptops.”1
According to Secino, SMBs might feel the slow-down, too, albeit not to the extent of a much larger organization. He adds that the cost of investing in technology to address the influx of Wi-Fi-dependent devices shouldn’t be a burden to SMB owners. HP offers a range of wireless access points designed for SMBs at a reasonable price point. For example, the HP MSM Controller Series for the midmarket works with the HP MSM-802.11 Dual Radio Access Point Series to provide comprehensive wireless LAN security. HP access points can be added to your current infrastructure, allowing you to infuse newer technology with your legacy infrastructure. Avoiding costly “rip and replace” allows SMBs to add appropriate technology as they grow.
1Without Proper Planning, Enterprises Deploying iPads Will Need 300% More Wi-Fi
Published: 21 October 2011
Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.