In recent times, developing technologies and the consumerization of IT have created a workforce that is more mobile than ever and does not need to be tied to a desk. That’s according to the Computing.co.uk website, an information resource for U.K. Technology decision makers.
This post reveals the drastic changes from just a decade ago in workforce practices: “For today's increasingly agile workforce, mobile file sharing and document collaboration is a major requirement,” it said. In the past, computer users had limited options when it came to simple document collaboration and file sharing outside of the office. The new trend is to make use of third-party applications and cloud services. In addition, we are now in the era of the “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) and “bring-your-own-application” (BYOA) craze. Unfortunately, a number of mobile security and privacy threats develop from employees using third-party apps.
The rapid rise of the BYOD trend, which is bringing about big changes in business, with more employees using their personal devices in the workplace to access company data and applications, has also coincided with growth in the BYOA movement to offer file sync/share capabilities. The Computing post agrees with the statement: With BYOD comes BYOA. It reveals that 62 percent of employees who are already using their personal devices in the workplace have become BYOA users too. Consequently, “produc[ing] a ripple effect on enterprises' approach to document collaboration today,” the post noted.
According to a recent Ovum global survey of nearly 4,400 employees in businesses with 50 or more employees, about 22 percent use their own file-synchronization and file-sharing applications. The Computing post reports that 81 percent of BYOD users gain access and share work documents from their mobile devices; of them, 72 percent are doing so without IT authorization and are going outside the corporate firewall and seeking free -- albeit unsecure -- file sharing apps.
IT departments should be particularly wary of these self-provisioned apps. Ovum (News - Alert), a company that provides independent and objective analysis to enable companies to make better business and technology decisions, advises businesses to directly provide secure versions of file-synchronization and file-sharing applications.
As Computing explains in its post, the concerns around mobile file sharing need to be addressed, and “IT needs to start offering a better solution -- and fast. [It is about] fighting for rigorous [data governance] policies that keep information secure and help companies maintain complete control [of the mobile devices], to prevent employees from inadvertently sharing sensitive or hidden data.”
Yet, companies still fall short when it comes to mobile device management (MDM), which could ease the problems of Control and Privacy. “With reputational risk at stake, there is ultimately greater responsibility on IT to strike a balance between users' desire for ease-of-use, and requirements for security. It's up to them to stay up to date with mobility trends and proactively introduce file sharing applications that benefit users and companies alike,” specifies the Computing post.
More often than not, IT is kept in the dark about the vast majority of BYOA users within their organization. As a rule, IT needs to reassess the tools they have provided to their users, and spend more time understanding the file sharing and collaboration solutions.
Companies embracing BYOD and BYOA can use MDM. It is an enterprise mobile solution that secures devices and applications. MDM takes a full-device approach that can manage information and data sharing, as well as a better way to secure corporate data among apps. MDM could be used to suit the needs of the IT departments that need to be particularly vigilant to protect the interests of their company. “Because when corporate documents are downloaded onto personal devices via consumer platforms, businesses lose visibility into what happens to that document. It could be forwarded to other parties, or edited without approval. And if the device is lost, then there's no telling who could be looking at your financial statements, legal documents, or patient records.”