My first job as an employee (meaning working for a Company / Employer where I had an actual boss) was almost 20 years ago. I remember a lot of things of that Era, one of them being that the Internet was something so new, you could make a business out of selling access to it. I was actually on the Tech Support team of an ISP, which meant that back then I was on the side of business that takes cares of customers once they go through the awful, terrible experience of poorly paid / measured Sales Reps calling on them and selling whatever they had to sell.
I remember a lot of those days but one thing that’s really different from the way we work today is the tools we get employees. Back then, I was given a desktop with Windows 95, full version and Internet Access, a phone and a notebook with a pen to write on. That was it. We didn’t have a CRM, just a spreadsheet where we put everything we talked to customers about, and I took notes on the notebook to check with my supervisor if the case was hard. That was it. You came in, logged into your windows desktop, then into your phone system and started picking up calls.
Employees and IT Security
|WarGames, 1983. Read more about this great movie here|
Back then…IT was the master of security. The major belief was that keeping everything to one standard avoided most security fails, and the fact that personal devices had not yet become so useful (technology had not erupted into something common to the end user yet) did a lot of course. So look back into the datacenter of your company (if you and/or the company were there back then of course) and remember: what was security like? 1 Platform, 1 sort of access, maybe a cool mix of physical + logical, but that was it, wasn’t it?
The perks of the job were basically the health insurance, some meal vouchers you got and that was it. I remember that Supervisors got cell phones back when those were only meant to make and receive calls (not even SMSs) and we would look at them in awe. Nobody carried an electronic agenda, and the concept of “Application” had nothing to do with stuff you download to your device to increase productivity.
You see, people had to either connect to your servers through a modem, and to do that you needed your own desktop with your modem and phone line, or they had to come physically to the building where your network was and connect through any of the terminals there, and you could control both, couldn’t you? Even so…WarGames was a very real movie, wasn’t it? For those of you who don’t remember it or haven’t seen it, click on the link below the picture up there. Great movie, but scary one.
Security back then was tighter, but also easier at one point to control because you didn’t have to factor in something that today poses a challenge for you if you’re in IT: the end user has a lot of power, basically because of the proliferation of devices and platforms. And with that power comes a great responsibility…they are not aware of.
Are you aware of how many non-company owned your Employees use? And how they access your information or systems? And what type of applications they are running in those devices and if those applications have sharing rights? And what about the platforms? How do you secure those accesses, and what type of security can you enforce on devices that do not sync up to your systems?
Consider the following article at Forbes magazine: Employees have changed, and thus the way they work has changed. They need access, they need mobility, they need a lot more flexibility than we, from IT, could deliver 20 years ago. And your company needs security, and agility and the means to make it all compliant and safe.
Luckily, big companies have foreseen this and developed a few interesting approaches on how to service these demanding employees and the ever-changing landscape of the technology they use.
Here is a very interesting Infographic by BMC around the whole whole BYOD motion that will interest you, be it you are on IT in your Company, an independent IT consultant or even an employee that needs to know more about how to use safely use your own device to access your company’s systems.
I’d strongly advice you to read these documents. The world is changing fast, and with it, the technology we use. If you are an employee, or a manager, or an IT specialist or responsible for IT in your company, you must educate yourself on what BYOD means, as the first principle of avoiding a problem…is learning what the the definition of that problem is.