Apple’s announcement last week of the new iCloud service has generated a lot of buzz, and a lot of questions from IT directors and secadmins. (It also and conveniently distracted from the continuing problems of the Mac Defender outbreak, but more on that in a future post.) There are two core questions we have been hearing from customers: What are the security risks of iCloud, and how can I protect my organization from them? The answer has less to do with the cloud and more to do with your strategy for handling the trend toward the consumerization of IT.
My fellow Trender Cesare Garlati posted some good general recommendations for organizations that are trying to understand how to embrace the consumerization trend. Getting into specifics, there are proven technologies that support this effort, such as desktop and application virtualization (Trend is a partner with industry leaders in this); secure cloud-based document backup and sharing services like our own SafeSync; and making use of existing native and add-on data protection and security features in these devices (encryption, password lock, etc).
One resource we often overlook, however, is our end-users. Consumerization is happening precisely because employees are more tech savvy, but this also means that they are better able to understand security concepts and guidelines and become a partner and ally in the effort to embrace the consumerization of IT, rather than an obstacle. In other words, give your employees a chance to be part of the solution to consumerization, rather than just a part of the problem.
Then again, maybe I’ve been watching too many happy iPhone commercials. What do you think?