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SP360: Service Provider

By Ross Fujii, CTO of Cisco Network Management Technology Group (NMTG)

Bring Own Your Device (BYOD) in the context of the business world reflects the fact that many consumers bring their work home with them.  Specifically, they connect devices they have received as part of their job – laptops, smartphones, and tablets – to the home network and use them as they would at the workplace.

While the added productivity of BYOD and working at home is attractive to businesses, the risk of exposure is not.  Laptops, for example, can store or access sensitive data like financial information or critical trade secrets that need to be protected.  In some cases, such as personal or health data, the law requires that this information must be secured.

The reality is that it is not always possible to ensure that a device is secure.  As a consequence, businesses make sure that the network over which devices connect is secure instead.  Within the limits of the business network, data can be protected through the use of security policies that define, enforce, and track individual use.

Personal use of devices outside the business network, however, operates outside of these policies and so users can unintentionally expose sensitive data.  The problem is that there are compelling use cases where it makes sense to allow employees to use devices outside of work.  Checking email is a simple one.  The fact is the blending of our private and business lives cannot be avoided.

What businesses need is the ability to bring security to the connected home network.  They need a way to implement similar security policies within the home when work devices are used.  Here again is another opportunity for service providers.

Next time I’ll explore the possibilities that these needs of consumers and businesses present for service providers.

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