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SANS Security Trend Line

Ixnay on YABYOA: Just Say No to Yet Another Bring Your Own Acronym

When I was at Gartner back in 2009 or 2010 we started projecting the impact of what Gartner defined as "The Consumerization of IT" defined as:

The specific impact that consumer-originated
technologies can have on enterprises;
Reflects how enterprises will be affected by,
and can take advantage of, new technologies
and models that originate and develop in the
consumer space, rather than in the enterprise
IT sector"

The press tended to focus on the device side of Consumerization - the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 was the proverbial camel's nose under the tent - business folks quickly wanted to use their iPhone, vs. the corporate issued Blackberry to read corporate email. BYOD was painted as the doomsday scenario.

Back then, I used to point out we had already had Outlook Web Access and SSL VPNs enabling employees to use their home PCs to read corporate email for over 5 years - doing so on a personally owned iPhone was actually quite a bit safer. But my real point was the bigger issue was Consumerization, not devices: the software and services users were starting to use at home were inevitably going to be what they would demand to use at work. Which, of course, is how the Internet and WiFi came into use at most companies, Users kept demanding it, kept sneaking it in because they found value from their use outside of work - and finally IT had to actually support it.

So, I've been groaning as I've seen more BYO acronyms, like BYO Cloud or BYO Carrier or the silliest of all: BYO Security.

The real issue is that users will always get their way, and the Consumerization trend means they will get their way on consumer-driven timelines, not IT support or asset depreciation cycles. It means consumer-grade hardware, software and services will be used - and the IT Security job is to protect the corporate systems and data by mitigating the weaknesses of those consumer-grade technologies - just as we had to do with the personal computer, Windows, the Internet, voicemail, etc.

So, APOMBYOAs - A Pox On More BYO Acroyms.


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