The influx of consumer owned devices into the enterprise environment has sparked data loss fears within many IT organizations. The concept of bring your own device – or BYOD – has gained momentum in the modern business world, with more people using their own gadgets to fit work around their lifestyle.
IT organizations are justifiably concerned about the security risks inherent in bringing your own device and allowing access to secure information through consumer devices. Many are turning to mobile device management (MDM) products and services to address the problem, however, a number of mobile security vendors believe organizations are focusing on the device, when they should be focusing on the data. In order to be competitive in today’s business environment, companies need to leverage every asset they can.
According to a study from Juniper Research, 350 million employees will be using their own devices for work by 2014. Currently, 150 million people use their own phones and tablets at the office, meaning that BYOD users in the enterprise will more than double within the next couple of years.
“As smartphones are increasingly used for accessing remote data and carrying sensitive business and personal data, security apps are becoming an essential and integral part of any device to make it less vulnerable to the different types of threats,” said the report, written by Nitin Bhas, senior analyst at Juniper Research. “There is a need to consider mobile devices as just another endpoint. They should be integrated with existing management platforms and there is a need to educate or inform enterprises of what solutions they should adopt.”
Despite a steadily increasing threat from malware, fraud and theft, only 5% of smartphones and tablets have security software installed. BYOD schemes are often called “a security nightmare” by industry experts but, again, with the right software protection on the device, this becomes less of an issue. Bhas says: “The number of protected consumer devices will overtake protected enterprise devices by 2015, driven by BYOD trends.”