In most advanced countries today, the concept of kicking back and working from home with a bottle of coke in one hand and an iPad in the other is no more a fantasy for many nine-to-fivers. Business persons have also realized that it is quite possible for employees to work remotely on their own devices (unless it involves physical labor at site) without losing any productivity. Consequently, many companies are evaluating the benefits of employees working remotely against the logistical issues constitutional in developing a mobile device management plan, in the light of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) work culture.
However, there are some pros and cons that are involved in BYOD practices that are defined below.
>> Reduced equipment installation cost
>> Reduced equipment maintenance cost (as employees maintain their equipment at their own cost)
>> Reduced infrastructural cost
>> Lowered in-house IT staff burden
>> Reduced office space square footage
>> Benefits of semi-virtual office maintenance
>> Security risks, if remote workers enter the company premises with their own mobile devices and want to connect to corporate resources, thereby infringing upon the company’s security protocol. Unfortunately, deploying and enforcing security control under such circumstances become difficult for two reasons. Firstly, the proprietary right of the device imbibes a control mindset from the owner’s point of view and secondly, restrictions on personal data (or content) can not always be imposed as per BYOD policy viewpoint. Companies, however, may ensure that they observe the protection of the user’s personal identifiable information (PII) by mobile apps development. Moreover, the risk in BYOD revolves round the fact that these extremely powerful hand held devices can potentially expose security risks that do not come under the purview of regular IT staff or addressed by corporate antivirus solution. But wait a minute, there are bigger hazards waiting in the wings.
Threats of a different kind
It goes without saying that tablets, iPads –smartphones included are less secure than desktop PCs or laptops for the simple reason that they are mostly deprived of pre-installed malware protestation. Most computers routinely harbor at least a trial version of any popular antivirus suite, whereas, with the ultra-modern mobile thingamajigs, individual users need to be on their own search for and install endpoint security management.
Sadly enough, this vulnerability has not escaped the alertness of hackers, who unleash with devilish pride new and notorious threats like SMS text message-based attacks on a regular basis. Compared to the old-school virus, these killers include more sophisticated Trojans, Keyloggers, phishing attacks and miscellaneous malicious apps to name a few.
How to maintain security
Enforcing a ban on these cybercriminals is next to impossible. However, there are options for a business to maintain security even on a shoe string budget. Here are the ways and means.
>> The first cost-effective step is to promptly establish protocols regarding these devices in the workplace, including guidelines for acceptable use, forbidden applications and how to avoid dangerous activities, such as browsing certain questionable sites while connected to the company’s Wi-Fi.
>> Next, evaluate your current solutions to see if they can be modified to protect BYOD devices through password enforcement, remote wiping or other protective measures.
>> If the quantity of devices or sensitivity of data requires a more robust solution, explore whether the use of Mobile Device Management (MDM) software proves useful. MDM provides a centralized platform to manage all BYOD devices and is recommended if IT personnel are spending an inordinate amount of time securing tablets and smartphones – or if the sheer variety of devices and new threats tests their expertise.
Conclusion: Fortunately for us, businesses are just becoming aware of the fast developing BYOD trend and the urgency of protecting mobile devices. Small and medium-sized businesses sans any large IT personnel are in need of a solution that can protect them like their larger counterparts. Providentially, the MDM trend is moving towards more affordable and easier-to-mange platforms, which indeed is great news for all who encourage BOYD protocol.