When smartphones aren't that smart
PUBLISHED: 14:25 31 October 2017
Bringing personal smartphones into the office isn't always the smartest move. Lorrin White, MD of Bamboo Technology Group, explains why
For the longest time, if you wanted a new piece of software or a new phone, you asked IT for it.
There was a good reason for this; it ensured that if anything IT-related went wrong, they knew how to fix it.
But today, IT is no longer in control. The trend of bring-your-own-device (BYOD), where employees are encouraged to use their own smartphones or tablets at work, has turned this model on its head.
Employees love BYOD because they can use their favourite gadgets at work, and businesses love it because they save money on hardware.
The only people that don’t love it are those in IT, because they now have to manage a multitude of different devices, most of which they only learn about when a disgruntled employee expects them to fix their email.
This raises the question; with the growth of ransomware and other cyber security threats, and GDPR raising the stakes on data protection responsibilities, has BYOD left businesses exposed? Is it time for IT to take back control?
The smartphone challenge
Without a doubt, the most popular BYOD device is the smartphone. No one wants to carry two devices.
Smartphones are great, but when they aren’t managed, they can potentially pose the biggest threat to information security in any business.
They combine the unique characteristics of being immensely powerful but compact computers, and they often have access to the exact same company data as any office PC.
This is a dangerous combination made even worse if IT has no knowledge of their very existence.
The choice for businesses is this; re-take control by scrapping BYOD altogether, or find a solution which secures BYOD devices.
In reality, there is no option. Businesses cannot turn the clock back on BYOD - for a start, their employees would not let them.
So instead they must find a way to manage them.
Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), which provides businesses with a single dashboard for monitoring, managing and securing their employees’ mobile devices with minimal interference, is one such solution.
I believe EMM should sit alongside antivirus software, firewalls and VPN as the absolute bare essentials to secure your business. If you don’t already have every one of these tools in your business, make it a priority now. You simply cannot afford not to.