Visions of kicking back and working from the beach with a piña colada in one hand and an iPad in the other are no longer just flights of fancy for many workers. Businesses are finding that it really is possible for employees to work remotely on their own devices without losing any productivity.
As a result, many companies are measuring the benefits of employees working remotely against the logistical issues inherent in developing a mobile device management plan.
There are many tangible benefits of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), including:
The risk in BYOD is that these devices can potentially expose security vulnerabilities not directly supervised by IT staff or addressed by corporate antivirus solutions. This is where the need for mobile device management comes in.
Tablets and smartphones are arguably less secure than desktop PCs and laptops because they lack pre-installed malware protection. Most computers include at least a trial version of an antivirus suite, but for the newest mobile gadgets, individual users and IT managers are on their own to search for and install mobile endpoint security management.
This vulnerability has not escaped the attention of hackers, who unleash creative new threats like SMS text messaged-based attacks on a daily basis. The old-school virus, while still annoying, does not hold a candle to the damage caused by these new approaches in cybercrime, which include more sophisticated Trojans, keyloggers, phishing attacks and malicious apps than ever before.
Enforcing a ban on these devices is a near impossibility, but there are options for businesses on a tight budget to maintain security:
If you determine that an MDM service is appropriate, how do you choose one? Use the following as a mini-checklist to cover the major recommended features:
Many businesses are only just becoming aware of the burgeoning BYOD trend and the necessity of protecting mobile devices. Small- and medium-sized businesses without large IT staff and corresponding big budgets need a solution that protects them as much as the larger companies. Fortunately, the MDM trend is heading towards more affordable and easier-to-manage solutions, which is great news no matter how big or small your company is.
Mobile devices in the workforce are here to stay. Develop a plan to manage them before they cause havoc in your company.
By Willie Pena