BYOD, otherwise known as the bring your own device phenomenon, has already infiltrated a multitude of businesses looking to see advantages ranging from reduced costs and increased security to higher levels of productivity. Mobility is needed by all companies that wish to remain in their respective space for the long term, and BYOD brings it directly to the fingertips of global workforces that can now access important information from anywhere and at any time. However, how does easier mobile access affect the overall management of these mobile devices and will businesses that have yet to truly believe this trend finally begin to leverage it in 2013?
“While last year saw businesses in virtually every industry embracing BYOD, the New Year might cause BYOD participants to relinquish control of their devices — and forgo a level of privacy — as companies impose much tighter security constraints,” according to a recent USA Today piece.
Why? The reason stems from firms understanding that with a higher level of mobility, security regulations must be strengthened significantly in order to protect not only the enterprise but its employees from different types of cyber attacks. That is exactly where mobile device management solutions come in. Next-generation, intuitive platforms like those from California-based MobileIron are assisting corporations drive visibility into every action occurring within smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops.
The smartphone management platform is simple to install, can be up and running almost right away, and comes in both physical and virtual appliance form. Some of it features include an encryption policy, lockdown security, password enforcement, remote lock and wipe, app inventory, real-time permission-based remote control, enterprise data boundary with selective wipe and privacy policies, access control (Sentry) with ActiveSync connection activity, device visibility and blocking of e-mail access, certificate distribution, secure administration with role-based access, group-based actions and persistent logs and audit trails, and lost phone recovery (locate and map).
According to analyst firm Forrester (News - Alert), approximately 37 percent of organizations currently allow employees to connect personally owned smartphones to company networks, while 34 percent allow hook-ups for personally owned touch tablets. Both of those percentages have risen when analyzing the same period in 2011.
With Microsoft’s (News - Alert) upcoming debut of Windows 8 smartphones, the BYOD trend could stand to gain a large amount of adopters in the near future.
"Technology devices are now a form of self-expression," added Bim Parmar, vice president of Marketing at Faronics (News - Alert). "Why settle for a corporate black brick when your mobile device can become an extension of your personal image?"
So, while employees are no longer requesting permission to view company data while on-the-go but demanding it, organizations will need to take a closer and much more focused look into the mandates needed companywide to address security concerns. A high level of control is clearly needed to accurately decide on which BYOD policies fall in line with specific business needs.
"There are tons of security concerns," commented Tom Kemp, CEO of Centrify. "Phones getting lost or stolen can lead to someone outside the company accessing corporate information. Or malware installed on a phone brought into the corporate network can begin spreading throughout the network."
In conclusion, although BYOD has many benefits, it can also bring with it some obstacles that must be overcome through the business working as a team. Ensuring that everyone is aware of what is and is not acceptable behavior is key to keeping people fully mobile and even more secure.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey