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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

BYOD offers perks and downfalls

Although firms supporting BYOD initiatives can expect to lower operating costs because they no longer have to issue corporate-owned gadgets, they are also opening themselves up to more security vulnerabilities.

Category:   Enterprise Mobility

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The tech sector is buzzing with activity thanks to a few major developments. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon is coming through the IT industry at a rapid rate, as more employees want to use their personal smartphones, tablets and laptops in and outside of the office. Although firms supporting BYOD initiatives can expect to lower operating costs because they no longer have to issue corporate-owned gadgets, they are also opening themselves up to more security vulnerabilities.

A recent Samsung survey found that 17 percent of organizations with BYOD policies have reduced their communications spending by nearly $10 million annually, while other firms reported having a more productive workforce, FreshBusinessThinking.com reported. The study did find, however, that 97 percent of respondents have experienced a security breach in the last two years or believed they would have if they allowed staff members to use their personal gadgets in the workplace.

Perhaps the most surprising finding of the Samsung study is that only 22 percent of organizations polled have updated or expect to upgrade their BYOD security policies to avoid future incidents, the news provider reported. Given that mission-critical data can be exposed, stolen or lost easily in today's business world, companies should be doing all they can to avoid becoming another statistic.

Graham Long, vice president of the enterprise business team at Samsung, said the findings make it clear that companies that do allow BYOD can experience certain benefits, but also some major concerns.

"But our analysis also highlights the dangerous threat to corporate stability that BYOD poses. The potential to lose customer data and other confidential information through mobile devices shows how threatening BYOD could be for many organizations," Long said, according to the news provider. "It's crucial that businesses sure that enterprise mobility strategy has a highly secure infrastructure as its foundation, together with effective and clear user policy guidelines that are implemented consistently."

What can be done?
Companies have a monumental task on their hands when it comes to keeping corporate data and customer information out of harm's way. This is especially difficult when staff members are sending, receiving and storing content on their mobile devices and accessing networks anywhere, regardless of their physical location.

What makes life even more difficult for organizations is the fact that employees, unknowingly or willingly, are the reason behind many breaches in the first place. The key with any corporate tool is to make sure the workforce embraces it and does not resort to less safe options such as consumer-grade file sharing systems. Although convenient, they simply cannot be reliable for the business world.

So where can firms turn to for help? Secure file sharing tools are ideal for minimizing the likelihood of a security breach while not being too difficult for employees to use. The solutions keep information safe, whether files are in motion or at rest, so a breach does not occur and data does not leave the network.