Small and Medium Enterprises (SMBs) are striving to keep up with larger corporations when it comes to technology, security and Mobile Device Management (MDM).
In a fast paced world of smart phones and easy Internet access from virtually everywhere, not only does it make sense that SMB corporate employees would want to use their own devices, thereby eliminating the need to carry around more than one, but it also makes sense for companies to allow them to.
A recent study by Samsung found that 85% of companies support Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives, and that 70% of Information Technology (IT) executives are of the opinion that disallowing BYOD policies, and failing to have security strategies in place around those, can put businesses at a competitive disadvantage.
SMBs are not just concerned with BYOD issues surrounding smart phones, palm devices; IPads, tablets, laptops, USB flash drives, and other devices are often at the top of their list too, so that employees can access much needed data to accomplish tasks and ultimately be more productive, regardless of where they are in the world or what the time is.
The concept of BYOD initiatives for Small to Medium Enterprises, and large corporations alike, has been a terrific new development in the corporate arena, but like anything, it hasn’t come without its challenges, the biggest of which has been network security.
SMBs face a unique challenge, because in-house MDM solutions are not always affordable or easily implemented. For this reason, it often makes sense for SMBs to look outside of their own IT departments for SMB mobile device management security solution service providers that can fulfill their needs in an efficient, yet affordable manor.
Finding accessible solutions to fit the needs of the SMB is becoming easier as more security companies recognize the need to address the concerns of these customers. Security Solutions for small to medium enterprises are readily available and SMBs can easily build a security fortress to combat threats to their information and infrastructure by implementing and utilizing a combination of both free and affordable solutions.
So. Why all the fuss about mobile device management?
BYOD initiatives have left both SMB and large corporate IT departments, everywhere scrambling to find solutions to protect sensitive data, as well as to bolster general network security against advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks, DOS attacks, Trojans, worms and viruses. Despite the fact that many methods of invasion are just newer versions of old, but vicious, hacker games, the ever-looming threat to organizations, banking institutions and government entities has security execs all over the world on their toes in constant vigilance, as well as working continuously to research ways in which to protect their company network environments.
Probably the biggest challenge that IT departments face when it comes to network security on BYODs is the myriad of devices that are available on the market. The Apple products are in a class all their own, but then there are a multitude of others including Google’s Android, RIM’s BlackBerry, Samsung’s Bada, and Nokia’s Symbian, as well as a plethora of tablets, laptops and more, all of which are utilizing different operating systems; systems that can be installed on many different models of devices and that can, and do, receive multiple OS software updates annually. Finding a one-solution-fits-all security measure is nearly impossible.
The second biggest challenge for IT departments is employee cooperation. Since employees have their own devices in their possession, and utilize them for personal use, security becomes an even bigger issue due to simple lack of knowledge and basic understanding of network security or the need for it. To that end, it is imperative that IT departments educate employees and have solid security standards in place when allowing for a BYOD policy within the company.
Some security policies might include such requisites as prohibitions on the installation of certain types of applications, activities that can be performed, periodic audits of the device by the IT team, password configuration and, finally, that all data be encrypted.
Mobile Device Management is not just for the big boys. Small to Medium Enterprises have found that, with the right solution in place, MDM is possible with the implementation of clear protocols, and a good solution can go far in reducing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) overhead, as well as the prevention of security breaches, all the while increasing productivity by allowing employees to comfortably utilize their own devices to access work files or applications while away from the office.
Ilan Hertz is the VP of Marketing at SysAid Technologies, a leading provider of IT Service Management solutions, deployed at over 100,000 companies around the world.