summer-mobile
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Top Summer Security Scares for Enterprise IT

Summertime means many things to enterprise employees – barbeques, parties and trying to cram in a family vacation. For enterprise IT managers, however, summer is a stressful season, as employees take their mobile devices for R&R.

While bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is beneficial to the enterprise employees, its popularity has also elevated concerns among IT professionals around security and device management. The BYOD challenges the summer season brings for IT include a potential data breach, losing a mobile device, logging in to ‘bad’ networks and unexpected connectivity costs. Therefore, it is critical that organizations implement a robust enterprise mobility policy to circumvent the security risks associated with BYOD at this time of year.

Below are the most common scenarios keeping enterprise IT on high-alert this summer:

Relaxing poolside with an unlocked mobile device:

Nothing scares IT more than a data breach. As the lines blur between work and leisure, it’s common for employees to take their work with them on vacation. An organization’s first line of defense should start with the activation of a lock or pin code, keeping sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands should an employee leave their device unattended.

Losing the mobile device:

The BYOD employee can’t resist checking some email while away, especially if his corporate device doubles as a portable TV and GPS system for the family. In fact, 64% of vacationers reported checking their work email while on vacation according to one study. So what happens when an employee loses track of his or her device while travelling? With the appropriate enterprise mobility policy in place, IT can activate the ‘locate’ feature to find the device no matter where it is. Often, the locate function can show the IT manager if the device was perhaps just misplaced nearby, or lost in an unrecognizable area. If it is truly lost, the IT manager can issue a “lock” on the device remotely, and if deemed truly unrecoverable, it can then decide to “wipe” the device back to a factory default setting and remove all data on the device. This last resort ensures that the company’s corporate data is indeed secure.

Using ‘bad’ Wi-Fi:

Fake public hotspots are common in public areas where tourists frequently visit and it’s easy for an employee to unintentionally give away personal and company data by logging into the wrong network. The IT manager can circumvent this problem by building network prioritization into the client solution, forcing mobile devices to use only approved networks. By blacklisting and whitelisting certain networks, IT can help its employees stay safe and secure. IT also has the ability to enable more granular control measures such as acceptable bandwidth level or quality over signal.

Connectivity costs: 

Connectivity is the variable that increases expenses for organizations, especially when employees use their mobile devices to stream video, make voice calls and incur roaming charges. Cost-saving policies will include defining and limiting roaming accessibility for both voice and data usage. For instance, it makes sense for employees to switch to approved Wi-Fi when available rather than consume data costs by utilizing 3G networks.

Conclusion

Companies will have to decide what their enterprise mobility policies are and define work versus personal usage as the lines blur more and more. By issuing a strong mobility management policy ahead of time, organizations and their IT teams can rest easy and enjoy the summer season without fear of a major security threat.

 

Douglas Louie is Senior director, product marketing, enterprise at Smith Micro Software

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Douglas Louie

Senior director, product marketing, enterprise – Smith Micro Software

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