The Emergence of Mobile Devices in the Workplace

smartphoneIn the past five years the popularity and success of smartphones in particular have provided a great deal of flexibility and integration when working in or around the office. The International Data Corporation report that 153.9 million smartphones were sold worldwide in Q2 2012, demonstrating the demand for such devices.

There are a number of benefits to both the organisation and individual through the use of such devices, with employees now possessing the capability to facilitate a whole host of everyday tasks. This includes collaborating with others whilst away from the work desk, of which was previously dominated by a fixed physical location. These devices now provide individuals with the ability to carry out tasks such as responding to emails in meetings and on the move, browse the web seamlessly and a whole host of other work-related jobs, improving overall workflow.

A major benefit to the organisation of the emergence of mobile devices in the workplace is the reduced IT cost moving forward with employees paying for their own device. Potentially there is a saving on overall IT spend on costs such as computers, management and communication services.

However, with the increasing presence of mobile technology in the workplace, whether this may be the smartphone or tablet, organisations need to be aware of the security issues associated and prepare the network for this level of demand and associated security risks. The use of mobile devices in the workplace will only continue to grow in the future as business become more integrated and connected, providing that level of flexibility that the modern user desires.

The most frequently experienced mobile threat is the loss or theft of the device. When devices are stolen or lost, the data stored on the mobile device may be compromised if the access does not possess the necessary security features. Security techniques such as a password, higher level encryption or remotely locating and/or wiping the stolen device can often be a simple security solution to this common issue.

Another potential weakness in the security of the network is the growth of Malware and forms of Spam over the past few years on mobile devices. This is mainly due to the lack of antivirus software on mobile devices to initially detect malware. Recent findings from the Juniper MTC report show that in 2011 there was a 155% increase in mobile malware across all platforms, when compared to 2010. Once organisations and individuals adopt a similar stance to the protection against viruses on desktops and laptops this risk will be significantly reduced. Awareness and advice is also integral to the reduction of this risk, only downloading trusted applications onto a device and taking precautionary actions in the event of suspicious activity.

There are a number of managed service and IT security solutions providers offering the very best in security solutions. Network Defence specialise in providing these solutions to both the public and private sector.

Implementing a strict IT strategy to define corporate guidelines and policies assists in building the foundations for a more security conscious mobile environment. This strategy should place its focus on a number of important areas such as identifying specific business data it will allow to be stored and processed on which mobile devices.

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