For midsize businesses, there is a new way to spell risk: BYOD

By Ernesto China, marketing manager, Midsize Business Solutions, NetApp, Network World |  Security, BYOD

Regardless, advocates and detractors are split nearly down the middle. With social and mobile already blurring the lines between work and home, breathless adoption of each new, must-have mobile platform iteration (iPhone 5?), and the continuing need to drive greater efficiency and business results, it is highly unlikely that BYOD is going away anytime soon. Not without a serious, highly public business disaster, that is. [Also see: "The 14 most influential smartphones ever"]

Which could/will happen. As more and more employees use their own devices for work and their work devices for personal use, security breaches and ethical lapses in judgment are pretty much certain. For many organizations, it is not whether it will happen -- it is when and how much damage will ensue. That will be entirely determined by how conscientiously a company has prepared itself and what safeguards have been put into place.

ANALYSIS: Happy You Can Use Your iPhone At Work? Thank Microsoft

To best assess how much resource and effort should be put into preparation, it is good to consider just how high the stakes are and what infrastructure already exists.

Think of how much time and human and capital expense most midsize businesses have invested in creating a secure network to protect their private and proprietary information. Now imagine that information being left, via a mobile device with password protection turned off, in a taxi. In a bar. In an airport returning from a highly competitive pitch for a new client. Imagine an employee's personal laptop contracting a virus that quickly spreads throughout the organization -- even into the server.

With an unchecked and unregulated, nothing-we-can-do-about-it approach to BYOD, some companies are not just gambling a lot -- they are gambling everything.

This is particularly true for midsize businesses, which not only must contend with both the expense and disruption of deploying stretched-thin resources to address issues brought on by BYOD, but also must absorb the losses that result from systems being taken offline and the ensuing catch-up that happens after an issue has been addressed.

Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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