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Ashley Leonard

BYOD: California Court Decides Who’s Wearing the Pants

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Article originally featured in ITBriefcase.net

The workplace trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is nothing new. What remains unclear, however, is the burden of ownership, cost and security. When employees bring their own cell phones, laptops or tablets to work, there’s a fair chance they’ve personally purchased those devices—data plans and all. In fact, some employers today require a BYOD policy, with no intention of paying for any of it. As one CIO bluntly put it, “Well, we don’t buy their pants either, but they’re required for the office.”

Fortunately, not all employers take such a cynical approach to workplace reimbursement, nor do they subscribe to a one-size-fits-all BYOD policy. While many view the trend as a potential win-win for everyone, the need for clarity is apparent. At least that’s what the California Court of Appeals decided when it handed down a ruling in August 2014 regarding the workplace trend. In Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, the court stated:

“We hold that when employees must use their personal cell phones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them. Whether the employees have cell phone plans with unlimited minutes or limited minutes, the reimbursement owed is a reasonable percentage of their cell phone bills.” 

This ruling solidified the responsibility of employers throughout the state of California to now provide reasonable reimbursement to all employees using their personal cell phones for work-related calls.

Indirectly, the ruling opened up a Pandora’s Box, unleashing ambiguous questions and concerns regarding data security, liability and actual reimbursement percentage figures—for all devices.

Just the thought of required reimbursement has left many business owners and CIOs feeling uncertain about the reality of BYOD’s future. While the practice isn’t exactly new, the trend is contemporary enough for a few larger companies to consider the recent court decision a death knell.

Establishing Order

Before we throw the BYOD baby out with the bathwater, let’s examine the facts of this widely misunderstood case. First, the ruling pertains exclusively to employee cell phones. Second, the now-required reimbursement is based on a “reasonable” percentage—partial, not complete; and finally, California is the only U.S. state affected by this decision so far.

While the court decision will undoubtedly have an impact on BYOD practices throughout the U.S., the benefits of the trend unarguably outweigh the deficits. BYOD was established to accomplish objectives for both the employer and employee. In theory and in practice, BYOD gives employees freedom to utilize cutting-edge technology, which has the capacity to not only enhance their own job performance but also benefit the corporate entity or employer, who also garners the additional benefits of lowering overhead costs and alleviating liability for devices connecting to the corporate network.

The trend, when properly implemented and regulated, has the ability to grant employees access to enterprise data from a single device. It also potentially benefits the IT department by eliminating the need to manage these personal devices. For example, if an employee downloads a pirated movie onto a work device their employer (the owner of the device) could be held legally liable; however, with BYOD, the device is owned by the employee so the liability lies with them personally.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Perhaps the real debate lies with provisions and compliance. In response to the California court ruling, the National Law Review recently advised employers to revisit their company cell phone policies. This call for review is a good start and should prompt employers to instate more comprehensive BYOD policies designed to protect the privacy of both the employee and the corporation. Companies and employees would also greatly benefit from clearly defining their “percentage of reimbursement,” shifting the liability to the center, and firmly differentiating business and personal use. On the other hand, this could lead to more concerns regarding ownership and responsibility of home Internet connections and cable bills. Drawing a line in the sand will be an on-going challenge—at least for now.

In the meantime, enterprise solutions currently deployed by California companies need not be affected by the recent ruling, as some of the more comprehensive options—made with enterprise-grade security features in mind—have the ability to proactively monitor and manage their environment from any web browser, meaning the type of device used should have no effect on employee productivity and corporate security.

Reconfiguring the System

If BYOD vanishes from our corporate landscape, the only viable alternative will be to take a step backward. By chaining employees to outdated or unsuitable corporate-owned devices and software that require maintenance and careful monitoring, companies risk the real possibility of not only impeding an employee’s performance but also discouraging an already skittish workforce—a high price to pay.

If nothing else, the ruling will push us in another direction; one where new enterprise solutions are required in order to navigate uncharted waters. BYOD isn’t dying; it’s evolving.

Ashley 199x300 BYOD: California Court Decides Who’s Wearing the Pants

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ashley Leonard is the president and CEO of Verismic Software—a global industry leader providing cloud-based IT management technology and green solutions—and a technology entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in enterprise software, sales, operational leadership and marketing, including nearly two decades as a successful senior corporate executive and providing critical leadership during high-growth stages of well-known technology industry pioneers. He founded Verismic in 2012, after successfully selling his former company, NetworkD—an infrastructure management software organization. In his present role, Leonard manages U.S., Australian and European operations, defines corporate strategies, oversees sales and marketing, and guides product development. Leonard works tirelessly to establish Verismic as the leading provider of IT endpoint management solutions delivered from the cloud by building beneficial industry partnerships and creating a strong, innovation-driven culture within the Verismic workforce, all while delivering returns to Verismic’s investors. Verismic’s latest offering, Syxsense , is an agentless, cloud-based IT management software solution that is revolutionizing the way IT professionals engage in endpoint management.

ABOUT VERISMIC: Verismic Software, Inc. is a global industry leader providing cloud-based IT management technology and green solutions focused on enabling greater efficiency, cost-savings and security control for users, all while engaging in endpoint management. Headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif., Verismic is a growing and dynamic organization with offices in four countries and 12 partners in nine countries. Over the past two years, Verismic has worked with more than 150 companies ranging from 30 to 35,000 endpoints delivering a variety of solutions for organizations of all sizes as well as managed service providers (MSPs). Verismic’s software portfolio includes the first-of-its-kind agentless, Syxsense ; Power Manager; Software Packaging and Password Reset.

Verismic Software Announces Expansion With Addition of Salt Lake City Location

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SALT LAKE CITY, UT and ALISO VIEJO, CA–(Marketwired – Oct 22, 2014) –  Verismic — a global provider of IT management solutions delivered from the cloud — today announced the expansion of its cloud software operations with the opening of a new development center in Salt Lake City.

“Salt Lake City is an ideal location for great software development talent, allowing us to continue developing industry-leading cloud technologies,” says Verismic President and CEO, Ashley Leonard. “Our presence in the burgeoning cloud technology industry strategically positions us for growth as we continue to develop innovative solutions to complex infrastructure problems.”

Headquartered in Orange County, Calif., and with offices in the U.K. and Australia, Verismic made its mark by transforming IT management with Syxsense — an agentless, cloud-based IT management software alternative that is revolutionizing the way IT professionals engage in endpoint management. The company also offers a growing product suite of IT support and green technology solutions.

Verismic relocated its Chief Technology Officer, Mark Reed, from Florida to lead the building of the development team in the Salt Lake City region. The expanding company has hired great talent and expects to continue this growth with further staff additions through the rest of 2014 and in to 2015.

“The skill level within the Salt Lake City area is impressive, and we have been thrilled thus far with the interest in our expansion to the region,” says Reed, a Salt Lake City native.

The newest Verismic Software office is located at 175 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 — in the Historic Firestone Building within the heart of Salt Lake City.

For more information on Verismic’s steady growth and innovative solutions, visit www.verismic.com.

ABOUT VERISMIC:
Verismic Software, Inc. is a global industry leader providing cloud-based IT management technology and green solutions focused on enabling greater efficiency, cost-savings and security control for users, all while engaging in endpoint management. Headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif., Verismic is a growing and dynamic organization with offices in four countries and 12 partners in nine countries. Over the past two years, Verismic has worked with more than 150 companies ranging from 30 to 35,000 endpoints delivering a variety of solutions for organizations of all sizes as well as managed service providers (MSPs). Verismic’s software portfolio includes the first-of-its-kind agentless, SyxsensePower Manager; Software Packaging and Password Reset. For more information, visit www.verismic.com.

Reducing Endpoint Management Bloatware

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Originally printed at www.btc.co.uk

Ashley Leonard, President and CEO of Verismic explains his view on the imperative of simplifying Endpoint management

It’s now well accepted that employees use multiple devices in the workplace. Desktop PCs have been augmented with laptops, tablets and smartphones. The Internet of Things will make the penetration of internet connected devices into the corporate world even greater.

The risk to the corporate network caused by unmanaged and potentially unpatched devices, commonly called endpoints, is significant. After all, it only takes one rogue to create a security flaw, so thousands could wreak havoc. Traditional endpoint management tools fail to protect businesses by being cumbersome. They are too complex, function heavy, unwieldy, and too demanding of resources: especially people and infrastructure.

COMPLEXITY 
Endpoint management tools have grown in complexity. Vendors add more and more functions to their core product, often unnecessarily, and all too often failing to help organisations control endpoints quickly and efficiently.

When speaking to organisations, from the smallest to the largest, 99 per cent of the time they primarily want asset inventory and remote control tools. That’s what they need urgently and use frequently. Customers also use software deployment and patching but only in around 75 per cent of cases. The remaining functionality of endpoint management tools is generally wasted, confusing and delaying the endpoint management process.

As a result of the excessive functionality, the User Interface (UI) of traditional tools inherits this complexity too. For IT, it becomes harder to find their way around the UI, which inevitably leads to additional costs for supplier training services or even worse, administrators giving up and performing tasks the old way.

It’s also quite often the case that traditional endpoint management tools actually require dedicated people, systems administrators, to manage the tools and keep them running, such is their complexity. Without the right people how do you even know the tool is running efficiently and effectively? It might not even be running at all. If your business doesn’t have that person or team, you’ll need to hire.

That’s another unwanted cost and another delay to managing devices – and costs are not just limited to people and training either. Traditional endpoint management tools also generate additional costs for servers, software and maintenance. This is usually a significant upfront cost as well as an ongoing maintenance cost. Some of these tools even require servers at each site within the organisation.

MANAGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT, NOT YOUR MANAGEMENT TOOL
Endpoint management tools should remain simple, focused and flexible. Here’s what businesses should be demanding:

  • A product which starts with the primary requirement for asset inventory, remote control, software distribution and patching, with additional functionality available instantly 
  • They need a simple UI, but with the flexibility to interrogate the system in more detail if required
  • Naturally, they need low monthly payments with no long-term contract
  • Businesses need endpoint management tools, which are quick to deploy and provide rapid asset discovery, even for modern environments which operate BYOD policies, virtual environments and mobile device fleets. This means using endpoint management tools which operate from the internet using agentless technology, and do not require the installation of clients that require constant updates and patches
  • Finally, endpoint management tools should operate from the cloud, because today’s endpoints are inside and outside the firewall. Cloud endpoint management is also better suited to Managed Service Providers, who frequently support customers outside the firewall. 

We’re seeing fewer and fewer businesses sign up for on premise software and an increasing demand for cloud services. Businesses neither want nor need to worry about hardware costs and the recruitment of systems administrators.

In 2014, flexibility and simplicity is the name of the game. Endpoint management providers and tools which can’t demonstrate these core principles are destined for the endpoint scrapheap. NC

Verismic Launches Remote Control Capabilities For Its Agentless, Cloud-Based Endpoint Management Solution

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New Syxsense Feature Allows IT Support Staff to Initiate Endpoint Support More Simply, Quickly and from Anywhere—Reducing Complexities of Organizational IT Management

 

PRLog – Sep. 11, 2014 – ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — Verismic—a global leader in cloud IT management technology and green solutions focused on providing cutting-edge products to organizations of all sizes as well as managed service providers (MSPs)—today announced the launch of Remote Control for its revolutionary Syxsense—an agentless, cloud-based endpoint management solution launched earlier this year and already transforming the way IT professionals engage in IT management.

CMS allows IT departments to focus on managing their IT environments by reducing time-intensive, mundane tasks and eliminating dependencies on cumbersome and unreliable management tools. The solution’s new remote control feature further simplifies systems management as it doesn’t require users to actively download permanent plugins, snap-ins, viewers or additional software code, as with competitor services, and can actively control an end user PC in seconds.

“Verismic’s launch of Remote Control for CMS supports our mission to provide high-value, low-cost systems management from the cloud,” says Verismic President, Ashley Leonard. “Although there are services in the remote control marketplace that work over the Internet, in nearly all cases additional plugins or viewers are required by the user, for each PC. This is additional complexity drains support desk time for the user and, in the long-term and creates a new layer of software to manage and maintain.”

Many traditional remote control tools also require the management console and end-user device to be on the same network, which is not suitable or realistic for modern, disparate teams, and does not help MSPs, who frequently sit outside the firewall.

Syxsense’s Remote Control requires only a modern HTML5 web browser and a ‘dissolvable’ target user device, to take near-instant remote control of end-user Windows PCs and laptops. This makes the endpoint support experience more efficient as the helpdesk team or MSP will need only to click the end-user device in Syxsense’s website; and the service will then push a small piece of code to the user device to connect the service. At the end of the session, the code will automatically dissolve.

CMS’s new remote control capabilities are compatible with PCs using Internet Explorer 10 or later, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. MSPs and helpdesk staff can provide support from a mobile device or tablet PC. The additional feature is available for all existing and new customers at exactly the same price: $3 per device, per month.

For more information on Syxsense and other innovative Verismic solutions, visitwww.syxsense.com.

ABOUT VERISMIC: Verismic Software, Inc. is a global industry leader providing cloud-based IT management technology and green solutions focused on enabling greater efficiency, cost-savings and security control for users, all while engaging in endpoint management. Headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif., Verismic is a growing and dynamic organization with offices in four countries and 12 partners in nine countries. Over the past two years, Verismic has worked with more than 150 companies ranging from 30 to 35,000 endpoints delivering a variety of solutions for organizations of all sizes as well as managed service providers (MSPs). Verismic’s software portfolio includes the first-of-its-kind agentless,Syxsense Power ManagerSoftware Packaging and Password Reset. For more information, visit www.verismic.com.

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InformationWeek.com|Information Week article

HealthCare.gov Breach: The Ripple Effect

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Hackers breached a HealthCare.gov test server, reportedly affecting no records, but the repercussions could spread across many medical organizations.

Thursday’s disclosure that hackers breached a HealthCare.gov test server this summer sparked more concern about the overall vulnerability of healthcare organizations and hope that the growing number of publicly disclosed hacks will encourage those organizations to expend more resources on securing data, networks, and systems.

A hacker installed malicious code on a device that had kept its default manufacturer’s password. As a test server, it was not supposed to be hooked to the Internet, said Patrick Peterson, founder and CEO of security developer Agari in an interview. Either keeping the server unconnected or using tools that automatically change pre-set passwords would have prevented this vulnerability, he said. Because it shared the breach, HealthCare.gov should be lauded for its transparency, said Peterson.

This type of error is easily preventable, but is the kind of mistake that can occur at most organizations without proper training and IT management, said Ashley Leonard, president and CEO of Verismic Software:

I am sure it is unnerving for the public when our government’s own systems get compromised by hacking. This, on top of the recent celebrity hacking, creates a distrust in cloud. However, if you look more closely at what has actually happened, systems are being penetrated by a combination of bad IT management and poor end-user training. I believe IT managers and software vendors need a better way to share information on vulnerabilities and how to patch them. The second concern is passwords; though passwords are set to protect our most sensitive data, we have a real issue today of using technology much older than most of us. At the very least we should be moving to pass phrases, two-factor authentication, or biometrics to protect our data.

Although federal officials were quick to reassure the public that no personal, financial, or health data was stolen, a chorus of dissent arose immediately given the amount of information HealthCare.gov houses and the number of alarms raised about the site’s security weaknesses.

“IT experts have long warned about the lack of security built into the federal Obamacare website,” said Congressman Diane Black (R-Tenn.), in a statement. “The vast amount of personal information that Americans are required to put into this site is an open invitation for hackers. That is why designing a secure website should have been a top priority for this Administration.”

Information Week article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While politicians battle it out in Washington, D.C., CIOs and chief security officers might find it easier to wrest security funds from reluctant boards and CEOs. That can’t happen soon enough, based on the industry’s ongoing poor performance when compared with other sectors.

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