Throughout the enterprise, the consumerization of IT is driving monumental change. The proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace is enabling companies to enhance employee productivity, efficiency and satisfaction without dramatically increasing IT budgets. The trend to allow employees to leverage personal smartphones and gadgets is growing popular in countries around the world, especially Australia.
According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, nearly two-thirds of Australian businesses support BYOD (bring your own device) programs. Additionally, roughly one-quarter of surveyed executives and IT decision-makers said mobility is either a top priority or important initiative for 2012.
Not everything is associated with consumerization is carefree, however, as more than half of respondents said data security is a major concern when implementing BYOD plans.
"Allowing employees to use a device of their choice to work through supporting a BYOD strategy is advantageous for organizations with benefits such as increased productivity, greater employee retention – achieved through enhanced job satisfaction – and cost savings through lower capital and operating costs," industry analyst Anand Balasubramanian said. "However, security risks are a concern for many organizations in supporting BYOD."
This fear is primarily driven by the unknown variables associated with today's mobile devices. In the past, companies made a significant effort to protect laptop and desktop computers, but now the proliferation of tablets and smartphones has introduced an entirely new layer of security that is unfamiliar to many IT departments.
A separate study by FishNet Security found that roughly 35 percent of decision-makers believe mobile data protection poses the biggest risk to companies today. In fact, 30 percent of respondents said smartphones, laptops and tablets will be the leading platforms for data breaches in 2012.
"Our company is seeing [mobile data security] as a major issue because of the number of BYOD instances and the vulnerabilities that can threaten mobile computing, such as unsecured Wi-Fi access, lost or stolen devices and malware attacks on mobile operating systems," FishNet Security founder and CEO Gary Fish said.
Another report by InfoWorld noted that decision-makers should consider implementing mobile device management (MDM) tools to help govern, secure and monitor all gadgets introduced to the corporate network. By using these solutions, IT departments can blacklist certain applications that may prove to be risky for data privacy. MDM appliances also let IT professionals remotely wipe and deny access to sensitive information for any gadgets that may be compromised in some way.
While consumerization may pose a risk to some companies, decision-makers can take steps to reduce these vulnerabilities and make mobile strategies much more effective and advantageous.
Consumerization News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro