Mobile Security for Business - BYOD
There used to be a time when the IT department could dictate to users which devices they used. That's changed now with all the new smartphones, tablets and mobile devices.
The biggest headache for small, medium and large business, schools, colleges, universities and corporations is securing the growing number of mobile devices. Smartphones, laptops and tablets all come with different mobile operating systems from the fast growing Android to the newer Windows Phone OS (Operating System).
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is changing the face of mobile security. The need to protect the wide variety of devices on your network – some owned by employees and some by the company can be a complicated problem, more now than in the past.
For the company, allowing employees to use their own private devices for business purposes can make their life simpler, firstly by not having to carry about two devices, one for personal use, and another for business, the employee will tend to carry their own device regularly, and so the employees business potential is vastly improved.
Another added bonus of employees using their own mobile device is that they will be more willing to learn how to use the features on it, and inclined to protect it from theft or loss if they actually own the mobile device, whereas having one thrust upon them by their employers will in some cases be an annoyance than a privilege, and they are much less likely to want to learn to use the features on it.
There are three basic options for a business to decide in how to incorporate personal devices and applications in the business world.
- The company could restrict all employees to use only company-issued devices for business use. All personal devices would be totally excluded.
- The company could create a list of approved mobile devices (smartphones, laptops and tablets) and provide support for them.
- The company could allow employees to choose their own mobile devices and applications they use for work purposes, through an open BYOD (bring your own device) program.
But how do you secure them and control them? A business can't afford to lose the content on these devices. Tablet computers have taken off in a big way and are being increasingly used by executives and managers. These Android or Apple operated devices store large amounts of data and financial information and this data may not be encrypted or have the best security policies on them if the devices are lost or stolen.
Smartphones have an especially high rate of loss - they are left behind in taxis and on trains, and quite a few times on aeroplanes. Most mobile operating systems already offer some basic level of encryption, but again this may not be enough to stop data or financial information falling into the wrong hands.
If you go down the road of allowing BOYD you need to take control with Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Security. Security vendors like McAfee, Norton and Kaspersky offer a strong selection of software to help with management of devices and even apps.
The key thing for organisations is to get this into place. They can't leave it to the end user to do their self-configuration. It is important to have these technical solutions, but you also have to think about the training for users as well.
Most importantly, any solution has to be as unobtrusive as possible. If any personal mobile device is lost or stolen you also need to make sure that if company data is erased from that device is does not remove the employee’s personal data, or you could have a very disgruntled member of staff to deal with.
The features of Business Mobile Security software varies depending on the security vendor. Whether for SMB or Enterprise check the vendors on this site and choose one with the features you need and the support for the mobile operating system on your devices. Some vendor’s business security software can also check for jailbroken (iOS) or rooted (Android) devices.
Key features of Business Mobile Security Software:
Mobile Device Management, Mobile App Management, Mobile Security, Data Protection
Mobile Operating Systems for business to protect:
iOS, Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry and Symbian