BYOD left Mississippi prison system open to 'constant attack'

Tools

Just about every organization these days needs to protect its network and data from risks associated with BYOD, and the Mississippi Department of Corrections is no exception. Although the use of employee-owned devices can bring about significant benefits, it can also be "an enormous headache if not implemented properly," notes Jerry Horton, network systems manager at the department.

With prisoner and parolee records, medical information, a banking system for prisoners, and data on staff, guards and investigators to protect, there is a lot at stake in the department's network security. A BYOD implementation strategy requires the right tools, including advanced firewalls, to stop rogue applications and other malicious traffic at multiple points of entry, Horton writes in a post at Baseline magazine.

With 3,000 employees working at a couple dozen sites, as well as about 1600 workers in the field, the department has a lot of personnel accessing the network. When employees started using their own laptops and smartphones for work a few years ago, Horton discovered it wasn't possible to monitor all of the traffic at every port.

"We were constantly under attack, and that made it very difficult to maintain compliance with the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services standards," Horton recalls. "Among the many issues we had was that our ASA firewall was compromising our field offices' web filtering, which meant traffic wasn't getting filtered in large areas of our organization."

The department needed to implement stricter policies for BYOD and remote access, and it started by deploying next-generation firewalls so it could detect third-party end points. It also established new policies authorizing only some employees--top executives, investigators, parole officers and other employees in the field--to use their own devices for work.

For more:
- see Jerry Horton's post at Baseline

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