The much-discussed Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement that’s swept across the business world in recent years has also opened up data security risks that businesses are only now beginning to face.
The trend started in 2007 or so with the introduction of the Apple iPhone, and employees of businesses large, medium, and small began seeing the benefits of using the mobile devices they were accustomed to at home. It saved businesses a bundle in IT costs, too.
But the movement comes with a serious downside: the difficulty for businesses of any size to devise policies broad and robust enough to protect the assortment of devices their employees might be using. Google’s Android smartphone, with its unscreened apps from third-party sources, poses a particular problem; a recent study found that malware on Android increased nearly fivefold from June to November 2011 alone.
It’s difficult enough for large corporations to contend with the security risks. It’s even harder and more treacherous for small businesses, which are both more likely to depend on BYOD to operate and more susceptible to going under with data loss or theft. A recent CompTIA survey found that 85% of small and medium businesses (SMBs) have employees who use personal tech devices for work.
So what’s the solution? Businesses are trying various measures with varying degrees of success, according to CompTIA’s Trends In Enterprise Mobility report from January. The most common security measure is a four-digit passcode required to unlock the device, but it’s not hard for hackers to break through the code. Other measures include data encryption and mandatory software upgrades for devices, but not many businesses have established comprehensive policies on mobile device security.
The need will only increase. Cisco Systems’ annual Visual Networking Index Forecast projects that by 2015, there will be nearly 15 billion network-connected devices, from smartphones to notebooks to tablets. That’s more than two for every person on Earth. A recent study by Unisys found that both the use of personal devices for work and the concern of companies that identify data security as a threat are on the rise.
CMIT Solutions is well aware of the threats to data security in mobile devices—our local owners are businesspeople themselves, and they understand the risks. We specialize in technology solutions for small businesses, and we offer managed service packages designed to keep small business technology running and data safe for regular, predictable monthly rates that allow business owners to budget with confidence.
Want to know more about our small business services? See www.cmitsolutions.com.