The consumerization of IT is completely overhauling the enterprise, as BYOD (bring your own device) and other mobile programs now allow employees to use personal smartphones, tablets and laptops for work-related tasks. The introduction of readily available applications has also made it more difficult for decision-makers to create a boundary between consumer and corporate solutions, blurring the data security and privacy lines.
Although the mobile landscape has introduced new possibilities for the business world, executives need to ensure workers are protected on a fundamental level to ensure efficiency is not interrupted by security vulnerabilities, according to a Dark Reading report. To mitigate these concerns, decision-makers need to manage when and how devices use sensitive information in the workplace.
"Until we can control mobility at the data level, rather than protecting the systems or devices, we're going to continue to have all kinds of security issues," John Nicholson, an attorney who specializes in IT compliance issues, said, according to Dark Reading.
How to protect sensitive information during BYOD proliferation
Managing device selection is one of the most effective ways to ensure only secure smartphones, tablets and other gadgets are used in the office. As operating systems, platforms and applications continue to diversify with the consumerization of IT, security complications are on the rise. By developing a program that puts restrictions on what gadgets and tools can be used, decision-makers may be able to manage an evolving workplace more efficiently, Dark Reading noted.
"BYOD does not mean bring every device," Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group, said, according to Dark Reading. "If you have a reasonably restricted universe of devices to choose from, the right tools in place to manage them and the right policies, BYOD can be imminently successful."
Consumerization is not solely about smartphones and tablets. Laptops are also becoming increasingly common business tools, especially as the portable computers mature and become high-powered computers. A separate study by CareerBuilder noted, however, that many laptops are not protected, as roughly 9 percent of respondents said employees have inadvertently downloaded a virus on to their laptop. As ongoing consumerization trends continue to invite these devices to the office, IT executives need to take control.
The Dark Reading report said laptop management should be an essential part of a company's mobile data security program, which should then be folded into an enterprise's overall data protection strategy. Mobile safety should not be a different entity, but an extension of an organization's existing initiative.
Mobile device management (MDM) solutions are also an important part of keeping confidential information safe during the advent of mobility. By establishing what kind of sensitive data a company is in charge of, where it is located and who has access to it, decision-makers can find the right MDM tools for their enterprise, Dark Reading said.
"It doesn't make sense to have five different management consoles to run your wired and wireless network, laptops, smartphones, laptops, etc. You want to roll it all up in one place if you can," Mathias said, according to Dark Reading.
A separate report by Forrester Research revealed that MDM software usage is on the rise, with the market poised to generate approximately $6.6 billion in revenue by 2015.
As tablets, smartphones, laptops and other next-generation mobile devices become more essential aspects of the evolving enterprise, decision-makers need to do all in their power to ensure sensitive information is not inadvertently exposed. Neglecting to do so will only introduce more challenges.
Consumerization News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro