The holiday season is here again and many people will be giving and receiving new technologies this year, including mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
While this is good news for the consumer, come January all these new toys will present a headache to IT managers everywhere who will want to make sure they can keep company data secure.
Increasing numbers of workers today are bringing their personal devices to the company IT department to enable access to email and other productivity apps on devices such as iPads, iPhones and Androids. According to a recent Forrester report, three-quarters of US information workers pick the smartphone they want rather than accept IT's choice, and more than half of them pay for their smartphone and monthly plans.
According to our recent survey, increasing numbers of companies across all industries are supporting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model, and in more than half of those instances, employees shoulder the cost of their device and service plan.
So now employees can use their favourite devices for work, but what does it mean for the company? It means that companies must now support more platforms and deliver business apps such as email, chat and portals on iPads, iPhones, and Android and Windows phones.
That means data and apps will be used from any location over any network and can endanger sensitive company information, potentially getting workers or their employers into trouble.
To keep confidential data stored on personal mobile devices and stop it from falling into the wrong hands, many IT departments turn to third-party solutions to better secure, monitor, manage and support the variety of mobile devices used by employees. Using one of these solutions, IT organisations can implement security controls such as passwords and remote wipe and lock, which allows IT to erase corporate data from a mobile device if it is lost or stolen.
The challenge is that most employees don't want to enter a complex password every time they need to make a phone call, send a text message or update their Facebook status. Plus, when employees use their personal phones for work, a remote wipe could erase personal apps and data in addition to corporate data and applications.
Fortunately, companies such as Good Technology take a different approach to these BYOD security challenges and keep the best interest of both employees and employer in mind.
To keep your information secure this holiday season, Good Technology is offering some tips on what employees can do to help protect both personal and company information:
- Don't use cloud programs on your mobile device to share corporate files and data.
- Beware of email fraud. Don't send email to anyone you don't already know, or respond to emails that appear to be from known sources without first verifying that they are legitimate.
- Secure your device settings and have it automatically lock after five minutes.
- Don't forward emails from your corporate address to private email accounts, especially emails with attachments.
- Don't use check-in apps everywhere.
- Turn location settings off when not using apps that require it.
- Be careful of Beta programs/apps: they can be dangerous, as in many cases the developers haven't sorted out security yet.
Andy Jacques is EMEA vice-president and general manager at Good Technology