When users create their own networks to access corporate data on their mobile devices, they also create security problems for IT.
An offshoot of the bring your own device trend, bring your own network refers to when users provision their own network services for Internet access, workgroup communications and information sharing, printer sharing and other functions.
Bring your own network (BYON) implementations are generally built around a residential-class Wi-Fi router, with backhaul implemented via an authorized connection to an existing wired network or a wide area wireless connection. Many wireless routers support USB cellular modems, making BYON simple and cost-effective.
BYON eliminates the need for IT to provision access for certain authorized workgroups seeking isolation — typically contractors, field auditors and special projects that management has determined will benefit from being separated from mainstream network activity.
Many view BYON as just another example of IT consumerization. Given the performance and power of consumer-grade devices today, with little to no compromise in function, performance or mission, BYON can indeed provision network services equal to those otherwise available on the big network.
At first glance, there’s really nothing unusual going on. BYOD is now firmly established as a valid, if not the preferred, mobile device provisioning methodology. Many professionals, such as plumbers, carpenters, network analysts and consultants, always bring their own tools to the job site. Isn’t the network just like any other tool?
But it’s not unreasonable to view the network differently, primarily due to one insoluble challenge facing all IT shops everywhere: security.
Sanctioned BYON activity must comply with organizational security policies on authentication, authorization, encryption and identity management. Given the isolation inherent in BYON, however, the potential for unauthorized exposure of sensitive information is usually reduced — one of the primary justifications for authorized BYON.Continue reading