Mobile Device Management Ensures Mobility without Security Compromise
November 19, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
When mobile technology first burst onto the corporate scene, employees were given new innovations designed to help them accomplish tasks more efficiently and improve overall productivity. As this technology evolved, the standard practice was that all employees use IT department issued equipment or complete all tasks manually.
For those of us on-the-go, mobile technology is essential and today’s users and the supporting organization need to look at the potential in mobile device management.
A recent BusinessWeek report highlighted the shifting trend and the growing demand for mobile device management solutions. One key trend is the growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) as employees increasingly use their own devices to connect to the network to access processes and capabilities. By allowing for this connectivity, IT could be putting the network and supporting users at risk without the use of a robust and proven mobile device management solution.
Even with this monitoring and management in place, there are still malicious individuals lurking among the IP addresses, looking for that one vulnerable point that allows them access to the network and protected information. Virtually all workplace technology has security vulnerabilities, not just mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. And, if individuals on the inside are seeking to exploit those vulnerabilities, protections put in place will be even less effective.
For companies that must support mobility, however, the benefits must outweigh the risks. James Gordon, for instance, vice president of IT for Needham Bank believes the benefits associated with mobile devices outweigh the risks by far. His department issues iPads and iPhones to Needham Bank executives, while allowing other employees to engage in BYOD.
To protect users and the network, the download of certain apps are blocked, as well as access to iCloud and other cloud-based storage devices. The concern? An employee may erroneously upload a sensitive file to another company’s servers. The mobile devices are also barred from depositing or withdrawing money from a corporate account, something that can only be completed from a desktop computer.
Such initiatives are gaining attention within other corporate environments as IT leaders understand the importance of mobility, but still worry about the risks involved. Beefing up security and putting strong policies is a good place to start, while mobile device management can help IT managers to more effectively protect the network.
This focus matters as according to a Yankee Group (News - Alert) survey, BYOD are gaining acceptance in the workplace and 60 percent of the more than 2,800 business leaders surveyed are allowing the adoption. This is a significant jump from the 43 percent reported in 2011. And, as the dominance of the BlackBerry (News - Alert) in the corporate environment wanes, employees are exercising their right to select their own device, as long as they agree to corporate IT control.
As long as the enterprise adopts solid policies, educates its users about the risks involved and leverages robust mobile device management capabilities, they will be in a better position to enjoy mobility with less stress.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein