Out of control with BYOD in your hospital?

October 5, 2013

The number of bring your own device (BYOD) workplaces is increasing.
Hospitals are certainly no exception with nursing staff, doctors and contractors bringing their own mobile devices into the hospital – and in many cases, jacking into WiFi networks in the hospital premises.
With mobile access points via  your smart phone – you don’t even need the courtesy of a hospital-provided WiFi network – you can jack in via your phone.

This is a real threat to data security in a hospital.  So the question is – Can the IT department of your hospital rein in wide use of personal mobile devices?

Nearly one third of CIOs surveyed said they support employees accessing the company network with their personal devices, writes IT World. But many IT departments remain resistant to such policies. BYOD has been around for awhile in one way or another. Now IT can get it under control, and here are a few reasons why it’s good for them.

BYOD is an Old Problem

People have been bringing their own tech gadgets to work for years, notes the Digital Workplace Forum. External hard drives, thumb drives, DVD burners, music players and personal laptops have shown up in employee offices for a long time. It has always been a headache of IT departments to maintain security in environments where people bring their personal digital tools.
To alleviate this, some places put tight controls in place that limit an employee’s access to the company’s computer resources. The result is frustrated employees, lower productivity, and a problem that still exists. One solution is to establish policies and controls that allow IT to manage all of the devices that employees use to access the system.

More Controls Allow Greater Flexibility

The development of mobile device management (MDM) systems allows IT to support a workplace with multiple, different devices. Employees are no longer satisfied with just their company desktop computer to do their jobs. Forrester Research cites that 74 percent of employees use two or more devices to complete their tasks and 52 percent use three or more.
MDMs allow employees to bring their own devices to work, connect them to the network, and maintain the integrity and security of the company’s resources. Solutions such as the BlackBerry MDM let various types and brands of devices to be registered and recognized by the system. Once a device is registered, IT can track the device’s activity and amount of use. This is more visibility than IT has typically had of employee devices.

Security is the First Priority

The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 80 percent of the younger employees polled said they brought in to work and used their own devices regardless of the company policy. More than 60 percent of the older employees replied the same way. Getting more controls in place is a way IT departments can finally keep their systems secure.
MDMs give visibility to the devices using the system. They can track the applications used so that unauthorized apps can be limited or restricted entirely. In the event that an employee reports a lost device, or when employees leave the company, the device can be wiped of any company apps and data. The tablet stolen from a hotel room during a conference is no longer a threat to the company’s security.
By controlling the apps available to the employee, IT can ensure that malware is not introduced to the system by people downloading apps from unauthorized sites. A central repository of custom in-house apps, commercial off the shelf (COTS) programs and app store products gives employees a selection of tools without risking the system security.
Creating virtual work spaces when people log into the system isolates their activity to a small portion of the system. Cloud services such as Dropbox and Skydrive help by creating collaborative workspaces outside of the company’s resources. The more that IT can move unpredictable activities to separate work areas, the more secure they can keep their company resources.

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