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A tale of two networks

Setting up separate wireless networks for traditional and BYOD-related IT assets can help to protect sensitive data.

Setting up separate wireless networks for traditional and BYOD-related IT assets can help to protect sensitive data.

It's safe to say that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon is here to stay. An individual can walk down the street with more computing power in the palm of their hand then most people thought would ever be possible. And with mobile applications being built for just about every personal and professional function one can think of, it was inevitable that they would find their way into the workplace.

On more than one occasion we have discussed the intricacies of BYOD and how to approach it in a way that maximizes benefits while mitigating risks. Some organizations are less concerned with the latter because they believe themselves to be unlikely targets of hackers.

This is a shortsighted view, considering that the Web lives up to its name more now than at any point in its brief history. An employee's personal email account could be compromised when net ne'er-do-wells target large service providers. If that individual linked his private and work email addresses in any way, your company may be compromised without ever being directly targeted.

A recent TechRepublic article touched on the importance of having clear policies related to BYOD so that employees know what is and is not allowed. This is not a new topic for this blog, however, there was one item mentioned that deserves further attention.

In order to safeguard critical company and customer data, business owners should consider setting up two separate office wireless networks. The first could be the standard one where all information and IT assets are stored. The second network would be specifically for BYOD-related use. Basically, such a solution would allow everything to be stored on the main corporate network, while the BYOD one would grant internet access and use of non-critical data.

Every personal device brought into work by an employee should have malware and antivirus protection measures in place. But, in case something slips through the cracks, segregating the networks could help to maintain both data security and operational convenience. Companies may want to consider this when looking at small business server hosting options.