Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Jim Hansen, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Aruna Ravichandran

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Making BYOC Work for Your Network

Similar to BYOD, this concept of bring-your-own-cloud (BYOC) is not going anywhere

The proliferation of cloud-based applications for the enterprise grows each day, and more and more professionals have grown dependent on these apps as the consumerization of IT flourishes in today's mobile enterprise. With the consumerization of IT, employees have become their own IT experts and demand that their IT departments add cloud services or enable them to use a particular app with the corporate network. IT departments, naturally, want to use the latest technologies to make the entire company more efficient and productive - and they see how the cloud can help accomplish this. What employees don't often see is that there are roadblocks to rolling out a new service or enabling an app to work with the network. Everything from budget to security to integration issues may cause the IT department to turn down the requests. However, unlike in the past, employees now have the power and the means to just use these services anyway, without IT's approval.

Similar to BYOD, this concept of bring-your-own-cloud (BYOC) is not going anywhere. Just think - it's incredibly easy for employees to access preferred technology offerings on a mobile or personal device, but it's still on the company network. Just download it, watch a YouTube video on how to make it work and voila - you have your cloud service. Any professional with a smartphone is enabled by cloud, social computing, analytics and mobile - and wants to transfer that experience seamlessly between their personal and professional computing.

This obviously poses a huge problem for the company network. IT staff either doesn't know this happened, or is forced to quickly address network and security issues, often leading to Band-Aid fixes. Results from Forrester's Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey, Q4 2012 indicate that at least 85 percent of employees use phone/tablet applications and web-based services, which is putting corporate information security under serious threat. Just to start, BYOC could hypothetically:

  • Denigrate the network - Deploying cloud technologies and operating models muddies the role that networking plays. Further, the impact of the cloud on the networks may not always be clear, and while the network is indeed important to cloud computing, the network also must change in order to facilitate these preferences. In a hybrid environment, the relationship and connection between a user's cloud and the provider's network must be secure - but the structure should be in place beforehand. The bottom line is, no network means no cloud - without networks, users cannot access their cloud services.
  • Challenge traditional security practices - It's really hard to ensure that information on employee-owned hardware and software is secure. For security professionals, BYOC seems like a nightmare. Personal devices are getting smarter and are better able to store and do more with corporate data, especially with the proliferation of personal cloud storage like Evernote, Amazon S3 and even Facebook. They also become a bigger target for hackers.
  • Introduce viruses - In BYOC environments you will inevitably have one employee who leisurely browses the web, opens email attachments, stores phantom files, freely clicks on links, and can't - or rarely - updates their security software. Without a policy in place, this is a veritable virus breeding ground.
  • Expose critical company data over unsecure networks and devices - This one seems pretty obvious, right? Downloading sensitive company files to an iPad, saving it to iCloud, and then connecting to the Starbucks Wi-Fi network down the street is not an ideal scenario - but it's a likely one.

Where does an enterprise start? The pros and cons are clear, and while it's important in this day and age to be accommodating and supportive of the innovative models that professionals take to accomplish their work, day-in and day-out, it's also very important to have a policy and framework in place that keeps all constituents on the same page while living on the same network. Let's start there - what frame of mind when devising a BYOC policy is reasonable and will be accepted by employees?

It's important to have a solid understanding of the stage at which cloud applications have infiltrated the organization. Once an organization understands the true level of cloud adoption across the board, they can better understand the true implications for their network and security, and how critical an organization-wide policy is to institute rules and regulations.

Network Monitoring and Inventory
Solutions exist that will take a complete look at your network and take stock of what is connected to your network (wired and wireless). It will know who owns it, what kind of memory it has, if and what software is installed and running, user information, network configurations and more. This is step one in your diagnosis, but also important throughout to keep track of the state of your network and to dissuade rogue users.

From there, your IT organization can determine how to protect itself from this phenomenon. Users are both the champions for this, as well as the weakest link - they likely own the device and they likely own the storage and access of the corporate data - so it's most important to invest in their knowledge, understanding and commitment to the policy.

Train and Instruct
Let employees know that they are responsible for their devices and cloud service from a cost and upkeep perspective, but also for what happens as a result of any personal computing or professional computing over personal assets. If an employee is not a good fit for any BYOC policy, such as a legal professional, instruct them of a revised policy.

Regardless, physical training of employees should happen over digital programs that they can quickly skip through and provide a digital signature without fully understanding or comprehending the responsibility that is in their hands - literally.

Security, Security, Security
Many companies are aware of how to secure devices that are introduced onto the network. For instance, there are a plethora of mobile device management solutions available that secure, monitor, manage and support mobile devices deployed across a corporate network. But for the cloud, to secure data and applications, it's important to invest in solutions with built-in data loss prevention (DLP), giving users an encrypted storage space on the mobile device to safely store business critical data.

For the network, there are a variety of network access control solutions that will give administrators the ability to enforce role-based access. In some cases, these types of solutions might just be viewed as Band-Aid fixes to a larger problem. Depending on your organization, however, these can be good first steps, building up to the implementation of a more holistic hybrid cloud environment that offers employees a full-scale cloud solution to support such bandwidth.

The bottom line, you must be in the know - you must know where your network stands at all times; you must know what your employees want from a cloud perspective; you must know what they currently have from a cloud perspective; and you must know what the best path is to take for your organization - be that a six-month path of quick-fixes and BYOC policies, or a full-fledged cloud offering that puts your mind at ease and keeps your employees happy.

More Stories By Paul Diamond

Paul Diamond is Technology Sales Engineer at Markley Group. He comes to Markley Group with over 30 years experience in various technology roles, most of them in the Banking and Financial Services sectors. Prior to joining Markley Group, he spent several years at Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) where he served as infrastructure manager, chief technologist and project manager. While there, he lead a Strategic Planning and Innovation team charged with creating both short and long term strategic technology plans to consolidate data centers, create regional operations centers and build data storage and archival operations plans.

Paul is an innovative thinker, known for being an early adopter of trends like VOIP, which he brought to BBH in 2005 to lessen costs while improving overall service and coverage capabilities.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
Providing secure, mobile access to sensitive data sets is a critical element in realizing the full potential of cloud computing. However, large data caches remain inaccessible to edge devices for reasons of security, size, format or limited viewing capabilities. Medical imaging, computer aided design and seismic interpretation are just a few examples of industries facing this challenge. Rather than fighting for incremental gains by pulling these datasets to edge devices, we need to embrace the i...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).