What clients’ BYOD policies mean to consultants

February 4, 2013, 2:51 AM PST

Takeaway: Chip Camden explores how the BYOD trend can benefit consultants. He also looks at several different ways BYOD policies could apply to consultants compared to employees.

BYOD, which stands for Bring Your Own Device, refers to the growing trend of employing personally owned devices in the workplace, usually connecting them to a workplace network. Those of you who consult in network administration and security probably cringe when you think about the possible security implications of that. Some have even suggested an alternative interpretation of the initials as Bring Your Own Disaster. While those concerns are valid, that isn’t what this post is about. I’ll leave that to the IT Security blog, and focus instead on what BYOD policies mean for consultants who want to connect their devices to clients’ networks.

We consultants have been bringing our own for a long time. Back in 1991 when I first started consulting, I usually worked in a terminal emulator running on my own system that connected via modem over a telephone line to my clients’ systems. Between telnet and kermit, it was almost like being there — and we didn’t worry about encryption because we deemed an analog telephone line reasonably secure.

As Internet access proliferated, companies naturally became interested in retiring their modems and phone lines in favor of connection options that made use of this new, unified network. We soon discovered, however, that the more people you put on the same network, the likelier that some of them have a malicious intent. With a large enough sample size, a significant portion of those crackers developed skills that rendered traditional security measures laughable.

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