NPC News
New Mobile Reality Demands an Updated Approach to Data Security

November 14th 2013

As bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, teleworking and other enterprise mobility strategies gain momentum in the business world, executives must take the time to plan initiatives carefully if they want to reduce risk. This foresight will require the development and deployment of endpoint protection policies, as well as training courses that bring employee best practices to light.

While properly embracing mobile endeavors can provide firms of all sizes with a number of unique opportunities that enable them to augment current processes, many business leaders have not followed through with the right initiatives. As a result, data protection and risk management is becoming more challenging.

This trend was highlighted in a recent Workshare study of more than 5,000 employees, which found that 81 percent of individuals are now accessing critical documents outside of the office. Unfortunately, 72 percent of those people are also using unauthorized file-sharing services, which is creating unnecessary complications and risks.

"Businesses can no longer ignore mobility trends. Instead, they must find ways to meet their needs, while meeting strict security demands," said Anthony Foy, CEO of Workshare.

The survey found that approximately 62 percent of employees currently use personal computing devices for work-related tasks. While many of these gadgets are sanctioned, not all of the applications used on those platforms are permitted by the IT department, meaning that individuals who may be leveraging a broad range of solutions to improve efficiency might also be jeopardizing the network and confidential corporate resources.

The growing mobile challenge

The truth is that the mobile landscape will continue to expand and impact the current business world whether executives like it or not. If companies think they can simply turn their backs on mobility, they will likely encounter substantial challenges as individuals choose to leverage personal devices without permission.

A recent Check Point Software Technologies survey of roughly 800 IT professionals found that 79 percent of respondents said their organizations experienced a mobile security issue within the past year. Additionally, these events were not miniscule, as the costs of such events exceeded six figures for 42 percent of firms.

"Without question, the explosion of BYOD, mobile apps and cloud services has created a Herculean task to protect corporate information for businesses both large and small," said Tomer Teller, researcher at Check Point Software Technologies. "An effective mobile security strategy will focus on protecting corporate information on the multitude of devices and implementing proper secure access controls to information and applications on the go."

Reducing mobile complexity

In the coming years, business leaders need to accept the fact that mobile computing is becoming the norm. This will force executives to launch new governance strategies, such as only authorizing certain operating systems or device types in the workplace. This will help IT departments develop more comprehensive support programs that give employees a place to turn if they stumble across a problem.

In addition to supporting mobile workers, however, companies must also raise awareness of the threat landscape and potential information protection initiatives that can reduce risk. Business leaders will need to identify how individuals utilize personal computing devices and how launching certain initiatives will keep operations functioning without inadvertently creating vulnerabilities in the network.

BYOD and teleworking trends will continue to gain momentum as organizations embrace consumerization and other phenomena that aim to augment current operations into something better. Executives must accept this occurrence and develop stronger governance and management plans to accommodate it, as neglecting to change any policies in the face of mobility can introduce major problems.

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