The battle that pitted company and IT decision-makers against employees on the subject of personal device usage appears to be over, as a recent survey by Samsung and IDG revealed that the vast majority of organizations will have implemented BYOD strategies by 2014.
"Bring your own device is at a tipping point as mobile devices are becoming a central hub for our lives," Tim Baxter, president of Samsung U.S., said at the conference, according to ComputerWeekly.
According to the study, 85 percent of companies encourage employees to use personal laptops, tablets and smartphones for work, and 90 percent of tech leaders anticipate BYOD becoming common over the next two years. In addition, 70 percent of IT executives believe that organizations that resist BYOD will place themselves at a competitive disadvantage - a stark contrast to the general sentiment of IT professionals in the not-too-distant past.
However, enterprises aren't the only ones to have noticed the benefits of BYOD. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of poor security plans and irresponsible employees to hack into corporate networks and steal sensitive information.
The Samsung and IDG report revealed that data security is still overwhelmingly the top concern with regard to BYOD, cited by nearly three-quarters of employees and 84 percent of IT executives.
Developing BYOD plans
As enterprises continue to move sensitive data to the cloud - and as employees continue accessing corporate networks remotely - data security has become more important than ever.
In a recent blog for Data Center Knowledge, Bill Kleyman, cloud and virtualization architect at MTM Technologies, noted that the typical worker uses three to four devices to access work-related applications.
As a result, executives and IT departments face an expanding number of responsibilities. For example, although they may want to make company-owned programs available remotely, they still have to maintain high levels of security to meet regulatory compliance laws.
Kleyman also discussed several strategies that can lead to effective mobile data security management, including:
- Authentication strategies: Requiring that employees sign in everytime they want to access company applications is one of the simplest - and one of the surest - ways to safeguard corporate networks.
- Ease of use: Enterprises can benefit by providing their workers with simple, easy-to-use programs. That way, employees will be less tempted to download third-party apps, which increase the risk of malware and viruses.
- Security software: MDM and MAM may be different than software designed for PCs, but they are just as important.
MDM offers solution
Gartner recently predicted that by 2017, 90 percent of enterprises will be supporting two or more mobile operating systems, and a survey by Samsung and IDG found that employees prefer using mobile devices for BYOD. As a result, companies will need to employ methods that allow for BYOD while also increasing security.
In response, 65 percent of companies will have implemented MDM strategies within the next five years, according to Gartner.
"Employees are becoming more mobile and looking for ways to still be connected wherever work needs to be done," said Phil Redman, Gartner's research vice president. "The rapid influx of users bringing their own consumer mobile devices that demand access to corporate resources presents challenges to organizations."
MDM allows enterprise and IT leaders to control which accounts and devices can access the company's network. In addition, many of these programs have blocking and wiping capabilities, which offer additional protection when a device is lost or stolen.
MAM solutions, which offer better control over specific applications, are also increasing in popularity, according to multiple reports.