Mobile Devices Pose Benefits and Risks
Are You Prepared?
Chances are, some of your corporate data, and likely even that of your customers and clients, is walking around in someone’s back pocket or stuck in the side of someone’s purse. Perhaps your sales manager even handed it over to her 13-year-old for a quick call home when the Saturday night movie lets out.
Every business needs to develop a mobile device policy, whether it conducts business transactions via mobile devices or not. Because whether it’s the internal company contact list, a spreadsheet with last year’s sales data or your customers’ credit card numbers, some of your data is probably residing on the phones, notebooks, and tablets of your employees. And whether or not you have an operating policy to guide usage and access, they are probably using those same devices to access your network.
The statistics reported at MobiThinking by various analysts are staggering: Six billion mobile subscriptions held by an estimated 4.2 billion people! Itís time for all enterprises to take advantage of this growth and also protect both businesses and employees from risks inherent to such power.
Here are some of the things weíve thought about as we’ve tackled this issue here at Working Person’s Store:
1. Purpose. First and foremost, identify what you want to accomplish using mobile devices. Your goals can be as simple as enhancing communications with and between company employees or as complex as updating the corporate catalog. The needs of each enterprise will be different, and thatís the starting point.
2. Access. What information should employees be able to access outside the workplace? What tasks will they perform? Will they be permitted full access to the network?
3. Devices. Will you restrict access and information only to devices owned by your enterprise? Or will employees be permitted to access company networks and transport company information on their own devices? Are all devices acceptable? All operating systems? If employees use personal devices to conduct company business, will they be compensated?
4. Security. While there are an estimated 2500 kinds of malware attacking mobile devices, only 1 in 20 devices are protected by third-party security programs (statistics reported at www.mobithinking.com). What kind of security will you require on either company- or privately-owned devices? What will the authentication procedure be for accessing the network? What happens when a device is lost?
5. Enforcement. How will you determine whether team members are abiding by your mobile device management policy? And what will the repercussions be when the policy is violated?
With great power comes great responsibility and the proliferation of mobile devices is full of both promise and risk. But youíre not alone. According to Computer Week/Tech Target research , over 20% of IT professionals are tackling mobile device management issues in 2012.
Implementing a mobile device policy raises tough questions and questions that definitely belong on your agenda.