It wasn’t very long ago that access to your business network was through one path alone: your work PC. Then, it becomes possible from a laptop at a coffee shop and your PC at home. Then phones became “smart” and suddenly, tablet devices were doing the same things. This shift towards network access through a variety of devices is convenient for users, but poses some challenges for those responsible for mobile device management, and protecting and maintaining your network.
"Q: How often do you check work email on your personal phone each day...?"
The Good Side
It certainly is convenient to be able to check your email or access data on your network from a mobile device. (laptop, phone, tablet) Parents who have to take sick days when kids are ill can often work from home while taking care of the child – that’s a win-win.
The variety of devices also means network users can choose the device that matches the situation and their personal preferences. Smart phones come in a several different configurations, and some people find it easier to use voice recognition to “type” while others prefer a “soft” keyboard, and others prefer real buttons. Some people prefer touch screen interfaces while others are better at a traditional input method like a keyboard and mouse.
More than ever, users have chosen devices that suit their technical acumen and preferred method of communication. This is often referred to as the “Consumerization” of technology. As more employees use their own devices for work, the efficiency gains won't out-weigh business security in importance.
The Dark Side
More Attack Vectors – There’s a constant battle between network administrators and malware and this presents some challenges to mobile device management. More devices means more operating systems - with each operating system having its own vulnerabilities.
More Platforms to Support – Support costs for network users can be better controlled with a smaller number of platforms to support. When users are able to choose their devices, each one will need some level of training and support.
Increase Risk of Device Theft – Portability increases the likelihood of devices being lost or stolen, with sensitive company data on them.
Save Your Network
There’s no reason why a business can’t take advantage of the benefits of mobility while mitigating the risks. It requires some planning. A Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) Policy can be created, with a limited number of devices and operating systems to choose from.
Mobile device management tools can also be used to keep personal applications and data separate from the company's. It's vital to have the power to wipe devices remotely when a device is lost or stolen.
Clare Computer Solutions can help companies plan a mobile workforce strategy that provides total control on mobile devices, giving employees the tools to work effective, and happy.