Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Pat Romanski, Kevin Jackson, Mehdi Daoudi, Elizabeth White, John Walsh

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...