Secure, BYOD Access to Corporate Applications

DANIEL MILLER on June 30, 2016 | 1714

Bring your own device (BYOD), has become an evolving and unstoppable trend. Delivering a new era of flexibility to IT and the business world, BYOD has clearly revolutionized the way companies operate and how employees work.  But BYOD’s flexibility and efficiency comes with a price for IT staff, who are required to support a myriad of personal smart phones, tablets and other devices.

Today, most employees use personal devices (which they expect the organization's IT department to support), to access corporate networks.  A recently-sponsored survey on BYOD (bring your own device), and mobile security, run by the LinkedIn Information Security Community, found that 40 percent of devices in today’s workplace are employee-owned. In this context, BYOD isn’t just popular, it becomes inevitable. Allowing employees to use their own personal mobile devices for work, organizations can increase employee satisfaction and productivity in addition to reducing hardware and mobile device support costs.

The trend towards BYOD access affects companies in all markets

BYOD access presents many challenges especially in the area of access security, compliance and IT management.

Enabling employees to connect their personal devices to the corporate network can expose sensitive data, making organizations vulnerable to compliance and security violations. In addition, the growing variety of end user devices requiring support can be overwhelming for IT staff.  In 2015, telecommunications company, Spok surveyed more than 450 US healthcare organizations for a snapshot of the current state of BYOD, and not surprisingly, data security was the most commonly cited challenge within BYOD environments (62%) as well as the most frequently cited reason for prohibiting BYOD altogether (81%),.

I won't go on to list the full range of challenges associated with the expanding BYOD phenomenon as most every IT dept. is aware of them (there's no need to "preach to the choir."), However, as an ISV who comes from the world of Access, I will single out a few key challenges associated with having to manage a variety of devices - instead of a standard-issued device that can come pre-loaded with the necessary software and other necessary native clients. Devices must be provisioned with the relevant software – antivirus, connection broker software, etc. Every time, there is an organization-wide update, IT must roll out the updates across all endpoint devices.

  • Support. BYOD presents tremendous help desk support load; support staff are forced to address a range of user problems across a variety of endpoint devices.
  • Staff Resources. Managing all of these devices is time-consuming, stretching the already taxed resources of today’s overworked IT departments.
  • Expenses. The time IT personnel spend provisioning, supporting, updating, ensuring compliance and securing all of these devices represents a significant cost to IT departments today.

 

Is there a best BYOD solution to access corporate applications?

I think there is. Our access solutions for BYOD initiatives help IT to safely deliver desktops and application to employees’ devices, anywhere, while mitigating associated risks. Ericom AccessNow HTML5 RDP Client enables browser-based access to Windows applications and desktops hosted on Terminal Services (RDS), and VDI environments, from anywhere and any device, including iPad, Android tablets, smartphones, laptops, Macs, Chromebooks and Linux.

Utilizing the HTML5 technology, Web access to desktops and applications that otherwise would not be possible is enabled. In fact, HTML5 access addresses the majority of BYOD challenges:

  • Simplified deployment. An update through an HTML5 solution is virtually unnecessary, whereas a native software update would have to be applied directly to each endpoint device. It’s also easy to embed browser-based software into corporate portals by adding a link or a frame.
  • Simplified networking. SSL (TLS), VPNs - secure virtual private networks based on the Secure Sockets Layer protocol -- can be used with both native clients and Web-based software. Web access is easy and automatic, whereas opening up communication channels to many devices can be quite an undertaking, requiring a lot of support.
  • Device agnostic. HTML5 is already supported by virtually all modern browsers in use; as HTML5 continues to mature, companies that utilize an HTML5 solution won’t have to bother with writing or purchasing new clients for every new device.
  • IT department relief.  HTML5 solutions reduce hardware and mobile costs by leveraging both employee owned devices and IT technologies that are designed to lower IT support and overhead.
  • Security. Since no information is stored on the browser, if a device is lost, no data will be compromised.

 

Ericom's suite of solutions helps companies address BYOD concerns, so they can empower their employees while minimizing the burden on their IT staff and enhancing security.

 

Author | 38 Blog Posts

Daniel Miller

Senior Director of Product Marketing | Ericom Software

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