Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Trevor Parsons, Ian Khan, XebiaLabs Blog

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Linux, Web 2.0, Security

Cloud Expo: 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
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Every innovation or invention was originally a daydream. You like to imagine a “what-if” scenario. And with all the attention being paid to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) you don’t have to stretch the imagination too much to see how this may impact commercial and homeowners insurance. We’re beyond the point of accepting this as a leap of faith. The groundwork is laid. Now it’s just a matter of time. We can thank the inventors of smart thermostats for developing a practical business application that everyone can relate to. Gone are the salad days of smart home apps, the early chalkb...
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS solutions that provide a Hadoop flavor either make choices for customers very flexible in the name of opti...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...