There's no denying that the popularity mobile technology continues to reach new heights within the enterprise sector. IT departments and end users alike are flocking to the latest smartphones, tablets and applications in an effort to boost productivity and increase the efficiency of business processes.
But for all its benefits, mobile technology has also been shown to introduce plenty of data security risks and challenges, especially when it comes to BYOD (bring your own device). Some of these threats – including malware, viruses and phishing attacks – are well known to companies, but others are forcing IT to be more diligent than ever with data protection practices.
That was reflected in a recent survey conducted by data security research firm Ponemon Institute.
"[M]obile devices put organizations at risk – risks that they do not have the necessary security controls and enforceable policies to address. It's also clear that employees are deliberately disabling security controls, which is a serious concern," Ponemon founder Larry Ponemon said.
Of the 4,000 professionals from 12 different countries who responded to the poll, 76 percent said they believe mobile devices put the organization at risk.
And it appears as though such fears are justified, as 51 percent of respondents also said their company had suffered a data breach during the past 12 months that resulted from inappropriate use of a mobile device. Furthermore, 59 percent of respondents acknowledged that employees routinely avoid and ignore security protocols that have been installed on their devices.
However, these are just some of the challenges that companies will be forced to overcome during the next several years, as mobility transitions from a luxury to a mission-critical necessity.
This year, a new report from Deloitte Consulting confirmed, enterprise mobility will be "unleashed" and will hold a place among the most significant business disruptors.
"The [mobile] revolution has now reached business. Many organizations today find mobile initiatives popping up in every business unit, in every region and in every department," the report concluded.
And the deeper companies get into mobility programs, the more challenges, threats and security risks they'll face, Deloitte's report warned. The specific nature of these issues will be different for individual organizations and even specific departments, but all must be prepared to respond.
"When left to its own devices, each faction – individual, department or organization – will struggle through the learning process towards its own vision of mobile enlightenment," the report stated.
Respondents to Ponemon's poll agreed with the assessment that mobility is more important than ever. Seventy-seven percent said the use of devices in the workplace is key to achieving business goals.
But the full potential of mobility can only be met if security fears and threats are overcome. According to the Ponemon report, 52 percent of those polled said they have experienced an influx of malware infections during the past 12 months because employee devices are left unsecured.
Overall, however, just 39 percent of respondents said they have the necessary mobile Internet security tools in place and just 45 percent have implemented enforceable policies. Both figures will have to increase if companies are to protect themselves.
Consumerization is another significant trend being driven by the rise of enterprise mobility. According to a recent Trend Micro poll, 78 percent said they permit employees to connect to the enterprise network and data through personally owned devices. It isn't uncommon now for employees to request IT support for consumer-focused devices – such as the iPhone, the iPad and smartphones and tablets run on Google's Android platform. And many organizations, evidently, are obliging.
Consumerization News from Trend Micro