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BYODThere was a time not that long ago when managing data security at the office involved a simple, clear combination of technology, policy, and enforcement. Now that it is just as easy to access company networks and data from Starbuck’s, Yankee Stadium, or a taxicab as it is from a desktop PC in an office cubicle, security has become a more complex issue.

According to ZDNet, 3.1 million smartphones were lost or stolen in 2013. Nearly one-in-three robberies involve smartphone theft. According to a Ponemon Institute survey quoted in InformationWeek:

  • 33% of employees currently exclusively use mobile devices to do their work and that number is expected to rise to nearly half of employees in 2015
  • 61% say mobile devices have increased employee productivity
  • 52% report that security practices on mobile devices has been sacrificed for increase employee productivity
  • 30% of organizations still have absolutely no security features in place to support mobility
  • 74% of respondents say their security is inadequate to mitigate mobile threats
  • 60% report that mobile devices have diminished employee security habits

Combining the theft statistics with the growing use of mobile devices in business, one might assume that the BYOD trend is an invitation to catastrophe. So it’s no wonder many companies are questioning whether the benefits of the BYOD model outweigh the risks.

By encouraging employees to use their own devices, organizations stand to reap significant reductions in capital expenses. At the same time, end-to-end accessibility increases worker productivity and satisfaction. In addition, management costs are reduced as you deploy, enroll, and manage devices, applications and documents with automatic updates. It also strengthens a cloud-focused IT strategy and all of the associated benefits.

The downside, aside from theft by enemy agents threatening to enslave the free world, is murkier. There are costs associated with the voice and data plans to consider. There are costs associated with the creation and enforcement of security policies to protect data, devices, and apps. Still, a stolen laptop, tablet, or smartphone (considered “endpoints” in tech jargon) doesn’t mean that company data is necessarily accessible, so long as the right protections are in place. 

IBM’s MobileFirst initiative enables BYOD flexibility with additional safeguards.

IBM Business Partners

  • Mobile device management - Provides endpoint control, bringing together the elements of the mobile enterprise
  • Mobile application management - Enables you to track, search, and control access to users through their mobile apps
  • Enterprise email - Extends enterprise email to mobile devices
  • Access to corporate content - Enables security-rich access to corporate data resources from devices designed for consumers
  • Containerization - Contains corporate and personal data in separate and protected areas on the endpoints

By equipping both end-users and IT with the right tools, security concerns around BYOD and the mobile enterprise can be addressed. IBM and select IBM Business Partners can help your company get a handle on mobile workforce security. 

Learn More About IBM MobileFirst

Written by IBM BP Network