How can companies prepare for mobile device usage? | ALC Training News

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Smartphones and tablets are some of the most powerful pieces of portable technology now available, offering a number of computing capabilities on the go.

As a result, it's no surprise that consumers have started using the devices across the globe to stay informed and in touch. There are concerns for businesses, however, as device usage is starting to creep into the enterprise – thus posing a potential security threat.

Companies need to understand the challenges of mobile devices in a business environment, and the possible solutions. With appropriate controls in place, an organisation will be able to allow staff to use the devices without security risk.

Proliferation in India

A new study from Gartner has found that by 2017, 20 per cent of the white-collar workforce in India alone will access important enterprise data from personal devices. What's more, the information accessed will go beyond solely email and calendar data.

"With the continued affordability of smartphones and growing acceptance of BYOD, more and more people are accessing corporate data through mobile devices," explained Anshul Gupta, a principal research analyst at Gartner.

Of course, mobile device proliferation isn't without issues. Once staff begin using these devices to access sensitive data in greater numbers, the floodgates are opened to a significant number of threats.

The challenges

There's no getting around the fact that mobile devices offer significant benefits to businesses, especially when staff can stay in touch across both email and company applications from any location.

Employees will also want to take part, as mobile devices make it easy to work away from traditional computers. Essentially, they are able to work from home or even while commuting.

The solutions

Now is the time to put the appropriate measures in place to prevent rampant security issues. There are two avenues that businesses need to consider: whether staff are using their own smartphones and tablets or the company itself is providing the technologies.

A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy is essential for personal devices, as it involves setting up the necessary policies to control how employee-owned devices can be used within the company. Specifically, when it comes to accessing business data.

Commonly, such strategies involve the IT department setting up security systems on mobile devices and installing company applications. This removes an element of risk, as the business can ensure the devices are secure.

Company-provided devices, on the other hand, are another consideration altogether. These technologies also require the appropriate security systems, but businesses will need to constantly check in to see how they're being used. These devices could prove to be a better option, given the higher degree of company control.

Mobile device usage is continuing to grow across the globe, and it's only a matter of time before most companies start to see the technologies utilised within the business for more than personal usage. 

"[Technology] providers must establish a long-term plan and strategy to bridge the gap in requisite skills and so combat a potential crisis," Mr Gupta said.

Focusing on security with a framework

Companies can take advantage of security frameworks to bolster protection measures, as these can ensure the right processes are always in place.

SABSA is a global standard for enterprise security architecture, and as a result it should be the first consideration when security is a top priority.

Once staff have the necessary SABSA training (gained through a comprehensive course) then they're able to ensure the security needs of the company are supported through IT management infrastructure.

Of course, businesses can also use the CISSP framework to add another layer of security. This method is a global standard for IT security, and courses provide substantial IT knowledge for staff.

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