Amtel CEO: Unprotected Mobile Devices Pose Security Risk

According to Amtel, a mobile device management (MDM) and telecom mobile expense management solution provider, 1.5 million new smartphones were activated during the first three weeks of December 2011, and another 6.8 million smartphones were activated just on Christmas Day alone. That means, as regular work schedules resume, enterprise IT departments are expecting an influx of employees wanting to use their smartphones and other mobile devices in the work place.

This spike in mobile devices being brought onto corporate networks presents several new challenges for IT departments charged with keeping corporate networks and devices secure, according to Amtel Founder and CEO P.J. Gupta. During our phone conversation in early January, Gupta detailed a number of MDM challenges that he says enterprise IT departments will face during 2012.

The top priority for enterprise IT departments, according to Gupta, will be trying to block all insecure devices. "IT used to say no to mobile devices entering their corporate networks," Gupta said. "Now they say yes as long as they can implement all of their security settings." The problem is most enterprise IT departments cannot monitor all of the mobile devices if they allow all of them to enter, and unprotected devices with access to corporate email and data poses a huge security risk. Finding a way to keep up with BYOD demand is pivotal for enterprise IT departments in 2012.

Gupta also noted that jailbroken (iOS) or rooted (Android) phones and what he called "killer apps" pose risks to networks because they can capture corporate information. Then there's the issue of surprise bills from employees using company stipends. I'l llet Gupta explain.

"Many companies are giving out stipends to users for devices and apps," he said. "But now they have to make sure those stipends are being used for work. They don't employees to go on vacation and use that stipend money for things that are not work related. So I think more companies will be looking for tools to monitor that spending."

Important to note -- the majority of the problems are at the enterprise level, but the SMB sector is not immune to the BYOD phenomena. Gupta said that SMBs started looking for MDM sofware solutions sometime during mid to late 2011 because more of their employees began using their own mobile devices for work and because SaaS is comparatively cheap. Today, between 25 and 30 percent of Amtel's customers are SMBs.


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