In a recent HealthcareIT report, associate editor Molly Merrill outlined a number of tips to ensure effective data protection in healthcare organizations that permit employees to utilize personal mobile devices at work.
One important measure that organizations ought to take is the development of a clear policy on the use of personal devices in the work environment, according to the report. Banning devices is not a practical solution, according to the report, since many workers use their tablet devices, laptops and smartphones as productivity tools.
Instead, companies should set out a clear policy that delineates exactly which tasks may be performed on a personal device. Using applications, for example, might be permitted, while storing large amounts of company data on a personal device should be prohibited, according to the report.
Not only should these policies be clearly articulated, the report said, they should also be properly enforced and compliance should be regularly monitored, in order to ensure proper data protection within organizational networks.
A second important step is to regulate which kinds of mobile devices may be used for work purposes. An organization may, for example, only permit mobile devices that have been fitted with the appropriate data security applications. Similarly, employees could be required to register their devices with the company. This way, in the event that a device is lost or stolen, it can be wiped clean, the report said.
Furthermore, while it may not be possible to ban the use of personal tablets and smartphones, the report claimed that it is plausible to disallow the use of USB devices. Since organizations are unlikely to need these, due to the benefits of new storage and file sharing technology, preventing their use in the first place may be an effective measure for ensuring proper data protection standards.
Organizational networks are not the only context in which data protection for mobile devices is a growing concern. According to a recent Internet Retailing report, a growing number of spam and malware attacks are affecting private and business mobile phone users alike.