Don't let the BYOD boogeyman get you

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As children head out for Halloween trick-or-treating, their parents working in IT departments are facing their own frightful phantom--the BYOD boogeyman.

The flood of personal mobile devices into the enterprise over the last couple of years is a frightening prospect for IT teams used to standardized IT environments and control of corporate computing devices.

The BYOD challenges to enterprises are "multifold," from overwhelming IT resources to losing valuable data and infecting corporate networks, warns Forrester analyst Chenxi Wang. I interviewed Wang, along with Gartner analyst Phillip Redman and SANS Institute instructor Joshua Wright, about the challenges posed by BYOD in my special report "BYOD offers tricks and treats for enterprises, say analysts."

They identified data security as a top BYOD challenge. Sensitive corporate data could "leak" through the loss or theft of an employee's personal mobile device or through the introduction of data-stealing malware into the corporate network through an infected phone.

The analysts recommended that enterprises use a combination of technology, such as mobile device and application management, and policies to confront the BYOD challenges head on. The task for companies is to find the right BYOD balance between employee flexibility and corporate control.

Gartner's Redman offered some good advice to enterprises spooked by BYOD. "The BYOD train has left the station. We recommend that you embrace diversity and manage it. Just don't stick your head in the sand." - Fred