Nowadays, many employees are allowed to bring in their own devices (BYOD) to the workplace. As portable devices are frequently unprotected and easy to steal or lose, security precautions ought to be taken to prevent an unauthorized person from gaining access to sensitive company information.
Adoption of BYOD (personal smartphones and tablets) in the enterprise can bring real business value at a reduced cost and make it a lot easier for employees to be more productive by connecting them while on the move through devices they own and know well. Yet, BYOD can create security risks if the portable equipment is not safeguarded.
Organizations rolling out BYOD initiates need to be aware of the risks involved when adopting such a program. According to ABI Research (News - Alert), there are significant security risks. In addition, there are also possible integration issues between employees’ devices and companies’ IT infrastructure.
Having access to the company’s networks and systems in order to obtain business applications and/or data to do work, from anywhere, at any time, has its advantages (cost, productivity, flexibility and access, to name a few); however, it also presents some disadvantages, IT experts say. In fact, risks can potentially outweigh benefits and could ultimately stop the increasingly popular BYOD trend, which has become a top priority for the enterprise.
It is important that some level of security is implemented in BYOD mobile environment. Measures could include providing restrictions for specific people to access and retrieve certain applications or classified data or have employees remove some data from their device when not used or needed. A business should always give access to data only on a need basis by granting legitimate access for those needing to interact with company files, databases and servers to do jobs outside of normal working hours, at a distance or when traveling.
In addition to placing mandatory controls and having encryption capability to protect the data devices contain, companies are also finding it helpful to establish policies governing their use to ensure sensitive data do not fall in the wrong hands.
Yet, companies still fall short when it comes to mobile device management (MDM).
To address this concern, a QR Code Press Mobile Commerce News report revealed MDM is turning out to be even more essential for enabling secure smartphone and tablet use in the enterprise. MDM is a useful tool for mobile network operators (MNO), as is mobile application management (MAM), which offers more granular controls to manage and secure corporate data among apps; MDM takes a full-device approach.
Companies embracing BYOD can use MDM and MAM for security. Even though MDM doesn't protect against every kind of data leak, and MAM can only be used to screen particular apps for use on work-related devices, combining both, can boost security effectively.
Able to provide the next level of security in the BYOD world, however, is enterprise mobility management (EMM). It is said to be the “best of both worlds, allowing a company’s IT department to partition a [users’] device into two separate areas — one for work, and one for personal use,” mentioned the QR Code Press site. This solution secures BYOD devices and applications and is able to exercise controls over all major devices; at the same time, “employees get the privacy and device choice they demand.”
According to BlackBerry (News - Alert), its Enterprise Service 10, BES 10, has EMM controls and presents a security solution and mobile platform that outdoes competitors on the market.
In addition to solutions provided by MDM/MAM/EMM that can secure, monitor, manage and protect mobile/wireless devices, the enterprise, either the owner or an assigned IT Manager, must take additional steps toward managing and protecting corporate data and applications. Since operations may be dependent upon these devices, they should also ensure compliance with data-related regulations implementing governance and security before integrating BYOD in the workplace.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson