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Should Businesses Fear iPads & Smartphones?

Report looks at business policies on personal mobile devices

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You know how when something happens in the world and it immediately hits the Internet in near realtime via Twitter or other social media? Say there’s a plane crash. Today, there’s a high probability this will make its way to the web pretty quickly, whether that be in the form of text, photos or videos. This is the era we live in .

Well, what if your business secrets could end up on the web just as quickly and as easily? Possibly without your even knowing about it until it’s too late?

Should businesses fear personal mobile devices in the workplace? Share your thoughts on the subject.

A lot of businesses have secrets that they don’t want getting out, whether that be plans, competitive strategy, private conversations, or any number of things. Now consider all of the things you can do with a smartphone or a tablet. There are apps for all kinds of things that have possibly never even crossed your mind, but the obvious features are cameras microphones, coupled with the fact that it’s just become so common for people to carry these things around.

The likelihood that you will have to deal with some malicious act related to these capabilities is pretty slim, but there are other security issues that can come into play, when businesses allow employees to work from their personal mobile devices.

Paranoid yet?

The reality is that these devices are a part of life now, and a part of business, for that matter. There are so many ways mobile devices can help your business, it would take a lengthy book to really cover it all.

But research shows a lot of businesses are hesitant to implement policies for employees to work remotely via their own personal devices.

SecureData commissioned a survey by Vanson Bourne Omnibus, asking 100 IT managers (in large UK enterprises of more than 1,000 employees) of financial services, manufacturing, retail, distribution/transport and commercial companies about the security risks of “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes.”

Granted, while this survey is geared toward the enterprise, it’s a subject that can really apply to any size business.

Here’s one of several interesting graphs from the report:

policies for mobile devices

Note the levels of those who appear to have no intention of implementing a policy for employees to work from their personal devices.

Here are some key stats from the survey:

  • The survey revealed that 25 percent of organisations do not have a policy in place for employees to work remotely via their own personal mobile devices (such as a smartphone or a tablet device) and don’t think it is a priority at the moment.
  • A further 41 percent don’t currently have a policy in place for employees to work remotely via their
    own personal devices, but have said that it is on their agenda to implement.
  • A massive 96 percent of those surveyed selected security risk as one of the top four most important considerations when implementing a policy for employees to work remotely via their own personal mobile device.
  • A total of 49 percent selected security risk as the top concern overall.
  • After security, compliance is the second most important consideration, with 70 percent of respondents ranking it in their top four concerns and 26 percent ranking it the second most important consideration.
  • In total, 69 percent of those surveyed use smartphones and tablet devices not supplied by the company to work remotely at home or whilst on the move (44 percent smartphones and 25 percent tablet devices).
  • A huge 92 percent of employees in the financial sector use their own laptops to work remotely at home or whilst on the move.
  • In total, 37 percent of respondents allow their children (or other members of their household) to use their work device e.g. laptop, smartphone and tablet device.
  • In total 43 percent of respondents state that security concerns would be the main reason for them not allowing children or other household members using their work devices.

There is a great deal more analysis (and as mentioned, more graphs) in the report. You can read it in its entirety here (pdf).

Clearly security is a concern. And frankly, even though workers using their personal devices for work can greatly increase productivity (Think about it. Their smartphones are within reach nearly all the time.), it is still possible that their devices are not secure, or that they’re connecting to WiFi networks that are not secure. There’s also the possibility that their device can get lost or stolen, or simply left behind at a bar. Ask Apple about that one.

Should businesses be worried about employees using their personal smartphones and/or tablets? Tell us what you think.

Should Businesses Fear iPads & Smartphones?
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  • http://www.completewebsites.biz Jane Jake

    People are becoming ‘hooked’ on communication and their work ‘output’ is reducing. People constantly check for emails, texts, answerphone, social messages, the internet, work emails, and they have to manage multiple passwords, usernames, logins. They also have to manage spam, viruses and security. They need help!

    A company can provide equipment, streamline processes and manage security to create greater ‘output’.

    Increased office premises costs, and fuel and travel costs and disruption and growth of video and webcam communication will force more ‘home-working’ and less ‘company-premises-working’.

    It’s therefore in the interest of companies to have a team to set up home-office working for their staff, with company equipment, securitized, and webcam to monitor staff and their screens whilst working.

    Big brother!! Yes, but necessary in order to manage this situation.

    T

  • http://www.newmexicochileproducts.com Rand Rensvold

    As a previous executive for a small retail firm, I found the devices quite handy for staying competitive on pricing. You can shop your competition by scanning the bar codes, download the information, and analyze when you get back to the office.

    As an employer, we had policies in place about cell phone usage, they were not to be used on while on the clock. We really did not have any field personnel.

  • WebData

    It is a threat to privacy in a way.
    And it works in reverse;if device is lost or stolen it can be easily located. Quick enough can be determined who is using it and where.

  • http://www.snerdey.com Snerdey

    Yeah, we always say that humans are not perfect.. ahhh, who’s running the businesses? H.U.M.A.N’s If businesses need to be afraid of iPad, iPhone .. they should take a look at their website visitor stats. Is your company website ready for the future? Notice how many visitors on iPad etc.. have you checked your website on an iPad lately?

    It better be.. cause, Big “G” is looking to android market to be #1 in results. So, imagine the future just a tad. Your on page one today but all the sudden you’re not even on any pages. Sure, maybe a little extreme but if your not one page one where are you?

    As for employees, social media. That’s a tough call it’s pretty much impossible to police. Pretty much in reaction mode rather than protection/prevention mode.

    Happy iThis and iThat’n :)
    Snerdey

  • http://www.CaptainCyberzone.com CaptainCyberzone

    I see a great business opportunity here! Anyone out there an algorithm geek?

  • Nu Na

    Office : we had policies in place about cell phone usage, they were not to be used on while on the clock. We really did not have any field personnel.

  • http://rjnselection.co.uk Rich

    they are certainly will not be going away, smarter businesses will embrace them and use them to their advantage

  • http://www.pwwirelessnetworks.co.uk Sion Williams

    Although distributing private company information is a concern, i would expect the bigest issues for organisations managing BYOD, is the security aspect. It’s vital to know who is trying to accvess your network using what device. Its also important to understand what users are searching for and ensure you have a management system in place to be albe to filter certain activity. In many cases filters can be in place at the desktop, but additional management tools are needed to control access of foreign devices used by both employees and guests.

  • http://www.porcelanatoscastel.mex.tl Porcelanato

    There will take a short time to implement technology as it should do, but businesses should take advantage in the mean time. Porcelanato

  • Janet

    A newspaper I worked for had its employees sign a statement that the company’s information would not be downloaded to or accessed via personal devices. There were times when the managers clearly expected me to ignore the policy and just do it, anyway. I resent signing policies in the first place, but to have them flagrantly ignored puts the employees in a tough position. Don’t let the corporate lawyers handle this one – bring in the process engineers and a will to protect both company and employee.

  • http://www.lipu-china.com fine crusher

    People are becoming ‘hooked’ on communication and their work ‘output’ is reducing. People constantly check for emails, texts, answerphone, social messages, the internet, work emails, and they have to manage multiple passwords, usernames, logins. They also have to manage spam, viruses and security. They need help!

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