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Most people are participating in rogue IT without even realizing it. By definition, rogue IT is the unmanaged hardware and software that employees bring into their offices, connect to employers’ networks and use for professional productivity on personal time. At first, it doesn’t sound so bad. By allowing employees to connect to the Wi-Fi with their own devices, companies avoid the cost of providing the hardware. But as we learned from the BYOD toolkit from CIO.gov, BYOD programs aren’t profitable if they are uncontrolled, because problems, like the ones we’ll discuss below, arise. Rogue IT is innovative and efficient for workers, but it’s becoming a real problem for IT managers. Here are four trends that are shaking up IT:
The days of 25MB e-mail attachment limits are long gone. Just about everyone has a Dropbox, Box or Google Drive account. These services allow users to upload massive files for easy sharing. The problem is that the files, because they are stored in the cloud, can be accessed from any location and any device. This is secure only if users have strong passwords and MDM software installed on their mobile devices and policy dictates what types of files can be shared. Some of these services are now ready for enterprise use. Since it’s so easy — maybe too easy — to use these services, it’s best to find one that all of your employees can use securely.
If you allow employees to connect their mobile devices to office networks, be wary of the apps they are using. It’s best to launch a BYOD program to manage this issue, but if you aren’t there yet, consider blocking your network. Android devices have become a platform for hackers, who can steal data through apps. Earlier this year, Trend Micro reported that there could be 5,000 Android apps that are dangerous to users. A BYOD program is a better approach, especially one with clear policies and education.
What did we do before cloud-based e-mail? And e-mail on our phones? And e-mail on our tablets? We can access e-mail anywhere, which can be a problem when it comes to data security. One of the best solutions is a strong password strategy, including two-factor authentication and regular password changes.
Some users are especially concerned with the security of their own data. This is great, except when they sign up for cloud backup services like Carbonite and CrashPlan. Users install an app on their device that continuously backs up their data to the cloud. This is fine at home, but agency devices should not allow this kind of service. Once the data is in the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere and can include every file on a computer.
Rogue IT is quickly becoming mainstream IT. The smartest approach is to offer software and hardware that meets employees’ needs so they don’t have to look elsewhere.
What other trends should local governments be wary of?