[IMGCAP(1)]While some so-called security experts offer suites that allow enterprises to control and manage smartphones and tablets, there are still significant challenges that can undermine a firm’s data and other sensitive information.  And in the ever increasing world of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), firms need to conduct a thorough overview of their network security, to identify - and eliminate - any loopholes or potential vulnerabilities.

Having a total network discovery and visibility solution has become essential in the BYOD world and such a tool, particularly for the accounting profession where BYOD is standard practice among a variety of employees, uncovers and maps everything connected to the network, including inactive devices and assets.

Deploying this suite allows an enterprise network security team - imagine a group of experts working alongside an independent firm or one of the Big Four - to analyze the connectivity between devices, automate the application of security policies on connected networks, validate the operation of security components and open network ports, and unearth latent risks or threats. Accomplishing those goals, each of which is critical to protecting data in a BYOD environment, involves the careful selection of the right group of services.

For example, to overcome the obstacles associated with BYOD, there should be a system that supports comprehensive profiling of more than 26,000 devices, covering nearly all known (or popular) devices currently in use. Such a solution will reveal the details of active devices without having to check the credentials of the connected device.

In other words, an accounting firm can potentially identify the ingress and egress points on their network, and provide a clear picture concerning the gaps in network defenses. These areas of weakness are the very spots that may (and often do) compromise security, costing firms substantial losses and severed influence in the marketplace.

Again, there must be a clear and thorough picture regarding the devices connected to the network without relying on software agents. The principal advantage of this approach is that it consolidates all device information and risk metrics into a single source, allowing for easy identification of risk and enabling prompt remedial or preemptive action.

Another plus is the lightweight nature of this suite, performing tasks without drawing much of a system's resources. This fundamental capability delivers true visibility, clearly answering the question: What’s really on my network? The response to that query will permit companies - starting with accounting firms - to ensure the integrity, confidentiality and availability of BYOD assets, as well as data in a virtual or cloud environment.

By using low-level investigation of network-connected devices, this brand of device profiling gives users the chance to quickly identify items in their networks. When combined with other discovery tools, device profiling provides rapid network discovery, validation, visualization and risk assessment of critical results. This information gives security professionals actionable data to safeguard the very information accounting firms must protect.

Device profiling further delivers on the promise of advanced threat detection, which many enterprises need. By monitoring the configuration of critical network infrastructure devices, both IT operations and security personnel can now quickly identify threat vulnerabilities and eliminate them in order to substantially reduce risk. Such a solution should also meet the Common Criteria process -- the international standard for technology security certification. Common Criteria demonstrates that solutions are in compliance with the standards required for IT products in both federal civilian agencies as well as the Department of Defense.

All of these factors apply to accounting firms dealing with the challenges - and opportunities - of BYOD. Finding the right solution to this issue can provide companies with the peace of mind they deserve, along with the protection they want and need. Let us work together to transform the world of BYOD.

Michael Markulec is president and CTO of Lumeta, a network mapping and discovery software maker. Markulec has over 20 years of experience in computer networking and software, serving in executive and sales positions at nex-i.com, AT&T, and Niehoff of America Inc.

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