Lack of awareness is ‘scary’ according to LANDesk
A survey has shown that many businesses are still a long way off supporting employee’s mobile devices in the workplace, with only 20 percent of IT professional able to manage personal smartphones, laptops and tablets on company networks.
According to poll by software vendor LANDesk, only half of the 200 IT professionals were able to adequately manage company-owned hardware in the workplace – a figure that dropped to just a fifth for devices brought in by workers.
While the majority of businesses have some sort of scheme in place to supply mobile devices to employees, with over half allowing personal devices to access company networks, only 47 percent of staff are able to track what devices are actually being used.
The survey shows that many companies are still lagging some way behind the mobile device trend known as bring your own device (BYOD).
Apparently only 23 percent of IT professionals responding to the survey said that their employers have a strategy governing the use of personal devices.
One of the main concerns around the use of personal devices among IT staff is the threat of viruses entering the network. 89 percent said that they were ‘concerned or ‘very concerned’ about the risk posed to the security of company data.
According to LANDesk, the survey shows that employees are continuing to bring their own personal mobile devices into the workplace, but companies are still not prepared to deal with this, a situation which could lead to serious security and data breaches down the line.
Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom says that the increase of BYOD in the workplace is a reality that companies will have to contend with sooner rather than later. This means that they have to be ready to embrace it, using the right tools.
LANDesk regional director for Northern Europe, Nigel Seddon, says that the lack of awareness by many companies is frightening.
“It shows that companies are not ready, and some companies are not even aware,” Seddon told ChannelBiz UK. “The fact that there are companies out there there are personal mobile devices coming into the workplace is quite scary.”
He says that there is a lack of understanding from companies to move a situation to manage bring your own device, and this could lead to securities risks for companies.
This could mean losing critical data kept on a smartphone that the company is aware of, affecting brand reputation if loss of information is discovered. With smartphone’s becoming used for a variety of work tasks, Seddon says that losing one could be just as “lethal” for a business, especially since they are even easier to lose.
The introduction of malicious software onto a computer network could also be damaging to a company.
“If a phone you have is infected you bring that risk into the business,” he says, adding that it if a company doesn’t know and isn’t monitoring that specific device then there is a “big risk” for the business.
“Security is the primary risk of any BYOD strategy”
Jonathan Bartholomew, channel manager at Sophos says that security should be the top consideration of any bring your own device plans.
“Security is the primary risk of any BYOD strategy and as more businesses allow employees to bring their own device, the demand for mobile security solutions is set to rapidly grow,” Bartholomew said.
“We all know that the bad guys go where the money is, so as mobile devices increasingly become just another endpoint, carrying corporate data and connecting to a corporate network, security becomes an increasingly important issue.”
He says that companies should be using mobile device management (MDM) software, which includes the ability to wipe sensitive data when devices are lost or stolen.
“This gives companies greater control over the personal devices they allow onto the corporate network,” Bartholomew told ChannelBiz UK.
“Applications can also be managed in this way, and businesses can set different restrictions for personal and business applications.”
“All of these measures should be backed by an effective education programme, so that employees understand the risks of using personal devices in a corporate environment.”