More businesses rely on their mobile strategies than ever before. For the most part, this uptick in mobility has helped sustain some business at a time when many would be expected to fail, but relying more on mobile definitely comes with some risks. This month we thought we would take a long look at mobility and how it can be a risky proposition for the modern small business.
We all know the advantages of mobile devices: they expand your business’ reach, they allow for more to get done from more places and at a wider range of times, and if your business does it right, it won’t cost you as much as other types of computing.
What isn’t always discussed, however, are the negatives of using mobile platforms for your business.
Let’s start with security. Mobile devices are susceptible to many of the same problems that PCs can have. Users will visit scam websites and click on links and attachments that they shouldn’t be clicking on, jeopardizing the mobile device and any computer network it comes into contact with. Cybercriminals also work to intercept wireless communications and can steal data and gain access to secure accounts in this manner.
These are not the only ways mobile can bring problems into your organization. Sometimes it can be a corrupted application that can be the culprit, and if mobile apps aren’t patched and updated, vulnerabilities in these platforms can give hackers the opportunity they need.
There is no bigger problem with mobile devices than the fact that there are simply more endpoints to manage. An organization that once had 25 workstations, now has 25 workstations and 25 mobile devices to manage. Add in the consideration that most of the mobile devices that are being used for work belong to the users and not the company, with multiple operating systems to consider, and it creates a complex, often convoluted situation for IT admins.
Most businesses, especially SMBs, don’t have the available capital to outfit their whole workforce with company-owned mobile devices. Some will subsidize the purchase of one or pay the worker’s monthly bill, but by and large, the purchase of a mobile device is left to the user. As a result, most businesses today have had no choice but to make contingencies for their employees’ smartphones. For a while, businesses tried to implement policies reducing smartphone use in the office, but over time it became clear that the more connected a worker is, the more likely they would be willing to do more work, more often.
To support all these employee smartphones—and, to a lesser extent, wearable technology—businesses started implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. Instead of outlawing the use of mobile devices in the workplace, now users could bring their devices to work so long as they used them according to a set of rules created by the organization. Opting into the BYOD policy would allow employees to access certain company-hosted data and applications while granting the organization’s IT administrators access to the mobile device.
Once the employee opts into the BYOD policy, mobile management begins. People tend to have bits of their entire lives on their phones, so opting into a platform that gives other people access to its contents is no small ask. Fortunately, there have been developments that provide some assurances to both the company and the mobile device’s owner, who likely forked over a couple of weeks’ worth of pay to purchase that device. Today’s mobile management platforms are feature-rich, allowing administrators to manage the security of data and applications, manage access to company-hosted software and resources, track the device, remotely troubleshoot or wipe the device, and more.
Additionally, for organizations that have to consider how their data moves to keep in line with any compliance regulations, a mobile device management platform provides assurances that employees aren’t playing fast and loose with sensitive information. Compliance standards like PCI DSS and HIPAA have very clear security requirements, and if data is not handled properly, mobile platforms could spark a costly compliance audit.
With mobile being so important for almost everyone, your organization is going to need to consider what that means for you. If you would like to discuss how to fill in the gaps of your mobile device management plan, or if you can see the massive benefits of mobile and want to shore up your strategy, call the IT experts at Mega-Byte Computer Services today at 888-755-0934.