Did you know that by 2014 employee-owned smartphones and tablets used for business will more than double to nearly 350 million (Juniper Research)? A mobile workforce can be a boon for employers in many regards—think productivity. If employees can access the network anywhere, anytime, on the device of their choosing, limitations of the traditional nine-to-five workday no longer exist. Not to mention the potential to work more efficiently, while cutting down on monetary and environmental costs.
But the thought of hundreds of thousands of devices accessing the enterprise network can be enough to keep IT managers and CEOs up at night—and with good reason. Between faulty hardware, hackers, and the occasional human error (lost phones, for example), enterprise mobility can expose an organization to security and compliance risks.
As BYOD shows no signs of slowing down, how can your organization equip itself to be on the cusp of this shift in the way business is done, while minimizing the potential threats?
Here are five tips for embracing BYOD, while also making sure your company isn’t vulnerable to any security risks:
1. Complete a full security audit – Have the IT department evaluate the corporate network for vulnerabilities that come with opening up the network to dozens (even thousands) of new devices, and update the security infrastructure accordingly.
2. Implement Mobile Device Management (MDM) – MDM can go a long way toward providing management and security for mobile devices. Companies should require that all employees enroll their devices that access the network in a corporate MDM system. By doing so, devices can be automatically configured for access to corporate email and resources. In addition, any necessary restrictions and policies can be applied using MDM, such as ensuring that devices require an unlock code to be accessed.
3. Use solutions that integrate with Active Directory, or a similar tool – For many regulated industries, tracking which devices are accessing the network is critical. With Active Directory integration, you can ensure a level of monitoring that meets the strictest of compliancy regulations—for example, knowing the details of exactly which devices are accessing the corporate network at all times.
4. Provide simple solutions to allow employees to access corporate content in a secure manner – File access needs to be managed and secured—and Mobile File Management solutions can help with this—but file access also needs to be easy for employees to use. There are many unsafe consumer grade file-sharing alternatives that employees can resort to if the solution provided by the enterprise isn’t user-friendly. An ideal solution is one that has the simplicity and ease-of-use provided by consumer grade solutions with enterprise grade security.
5. Role-based access to data – By employing solutions that integrate with Active Directory, or similar tools, enterprises can easily provide the right level of access. You can allow employees to have the same access and permissions as they do from their desktops and laptops, or have much tighter restrictions on mobile access. The right tool will give you the flexibility to choose.
6. Being prepared for the worst to happen – It’s inevitable that, at some point, employees will lose or break their devices. Make sure you have a plan in place so they know how to report it and get the device wiped and removed from accessing the network.
By embracing mobility with a solid plan in place, your organization can not only minimize the threat of security risks, but, more importantly, maximize the benefits of the mobile enterprise.