Personal Mobile Devices on the Corporate Network

Keeping your Organization Safe, One Mobile Device at a Time In this week’s article we address yet another budding security and safety concern. Our clients are always asking us to give them advice on whether personal mobile devices should be permitted on their Corporate Network. Although there is no simple answer to the question, we feel it necessary to bring to their attention many of the growing concerns that come alongside this personal freedom.

Caution! Be Aware!

Among the top concerns from employers are the risk of consumer devices being lost that pack vast amounts of corporate secrets, forwarding of corporate email to personal accounts, or the simply worry that employees might be using their personal devices to access unsafe websites. According an MIT survey, “37% of office workers in Great Britain already use their personal technologies for work without company permission”. It is these contributing factors that all put corporate networks at risk.

Increased Productivity? Lowered Costs?

However, in this day and age it seems almost primitive to be carrying around a laptop and have to connect to a private network just to read email. Mobility is the new wave of technology, and it is inevitable that taking office work on the go will soon become standard. When allowing employees to connect their personal devices to the corporate network, not only is productivity throughout times of travel and commute increased but it could also save your organization a significant amount of money. Devices employees use will have already been paid for by the consumer, and even more so there would be a considerable amount of money saved on licensing fees.

Possible Solutions.

It is important to make sure that your organization has set a policy in place requiring users to contact your IT department for permission to enable Exchange ActiveSync on their personal device. Unless your IT department has visibility into which devices are connecting to the network, then it is impossible to ensure security. EAS security policies also need to be put into place where users are forced to enter a security password to unlock their device.

Analysts predict that within three years nearly all companies will be supporting programs of this kind. A study by Aberdeen Group confirms that nearly 72% of firms allow their employees to use their own smart phones and tablets for work, which is four times as many as in 2008.

Users must also be able to wipe the data on their own device if it gets lost or stolen. Often times employees delay reporting these incidents and every second of delay increases the chance of losing sensitive corporate data.

The key points to keep in mind are that both control and visibility are paramount when allowing personal devices access to your corporate network. Standards and policies around these issues need to be put in place and remain a top priority in order to maintain your businesses security and confidentiality.