With the presence of employee-owned mobile devices in the workplace growing rapidly, enterprise IT departments are advised to ensure their mobility policies address the myriad data protection challenges these devices present.
According to a recent Global Industry Analysts report, the smartphone market is expected to experience meteoric growth in coming years. Bolstered by a recovering economy and increased adoption by businesses of all sizes, the market research firm predicted more than 1.6 billion smartphones will be in use worldwide by 2017.
While these devices have certainly proven to be beneficial for many companies – often improving productivity while also providing increased flexibility – they can also create security headaches for IT departments. For instance, smartphones are more prone to being misplaced, lost or outright stolen than most other enterprise IT devices. At the same time, IT managers often have difficulty monitoring which devices access certain information, potentially putting data in danger of being breached.
"As these compound threats continue to emerge, so does the need for an intelligent approach to mobile security – keeping the industry one step ahead of the criminals to ensure that such threats do not reach mobile users in the first place," said Gareth Maclachlan, COO of AdaptiveMobile, which released a report that found mobile malware increased 33 percent from 2009 to 2010.
Many experts have noted that smartphones based on Google's mobile operating system Android are particularly troublesome when it comes to enterprise security. Because the operating system is open source, it is naturally more prone to malware being written into application coding than most other smartphones, potentially presenting a significant challenge for enterprise IT.
This is a concern for many enterprise IT departments, because Android is quickly becoming the mobile OS of choice, and is expected to become the market leader in the near future. Fortunately, many security providers have begun to take note and are now offering solutions to help companies improve mobile data protection.