With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, more and more enterprises are adopting a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy to build the connected mobile enterprises of the future. However, some IT managers are concerned that mobile workers using their own unsecured mobile devices for work could lead to IT security issues.
Many of these concerns are based on misconceptions about mobile security. With an effective security strategy, BYO mobile computing can deliver real gains to the enterprise in terms of productivity, efficiency and more engaged mobile users.
Below we explain four of the key perceived challenges about mobile enterprise data security and policies:
“BYOD users are security problems.”
Even if you haven’t enabled a BYOD policy, employees may already be using personal mobile devices to access, manipulate and share enterprise data through mobile apps. By implementing a BYOD program with the right policies and tools, you are not only securing your data against unauthorized access but also increasing employee productivity by creating new ways of performing tasks. By taking a comprehensive view of enterprise mobile security, organizations can reduce risk and reap the rewards of a more engaged, connected mobile workforce.
“Enabling BYOD increases the complexity of IT environments.”
Businesses already manage complexity by providing corporate-owned smartphones and tablets to employees and allowing them to work from home by connecting through a virtual private network (VPN). The big thing that’s changing with BYOD is allowing personally owned devices secure access to your enterprise network. There are now tools that make it easier to manage this and reduce the risk (see next section). Enabling BYOD could outweigh the cost of managing complex IT environments by providing improved flexibility and enterprise agility.
“Mobile security is a primary technology challenge.”
It can’t be denied that hackers are finding new ways of attacking mobile devices and corporate networks, but that shouldn’t be a hindrance to adopting BYOD. Consider using a mobile device management (MDM) solution to manage the fleet of mobile devices that connect to your network. With MDM you gain complete visibility and control over mobile devices; detailed hardware and software inventory, location, network and usage data and can bring mobile computing into compliance with IT security policies. If implementing and supporting MDM is one more thing than your IT team will struggle to manage, consider a managed MDM solution.
“BYOD can pose a threat to personal employee data too.”
IT managers who allow personal devices into their businesses have expressed concerns about security threats to corporate data due to loss of mobile devices, data integrity compromises and sharing of sensitive confidential information over social media. But some IT managers see a threat to personal data too.
When a device carrying corporate data is lost, stolen or compromised, IT needs to be able to lock it down and even wipe the data. When an employee leaves the company, IT may also need to remove all company information. The perceived risk in these situations is that individuals will sacrifice personal emails, photos and apps to satisfy corporate privacy and security policies. But containerization tools are making it much easier to keep personal and corporate data and apps separate on both BYOD and COPE (corporately owned, personally enabled) devices. You need to respect the privacy of users and secure only the corporate data on personal devices.
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How are you addressing mobile security concerns in your organization?