Concerns about web security are impeding small business and mid-sized businesses from enjoying the full benefits mobile computing and remote workers can offer, according to a new survey of 113 IT professionals at companies with 500 or fewer employees conducted by Perimeter E-Security. The first sign of SMB concerns about the security of mobile and remote devices is the fact that about 48 percent of all SMBs have less than 10 percent of their employees using laptops, which is surprising considering that in general laptop usage has increased significantly compared to usage of traditional desktop PCs.
One-quarter of respondents did indicate that 80 percent or more of their employees use laptops, but this figure still pales compared to the nearly half of small businesses with fewer than one in 10 workers doing so. It's unclear whether these businesses have a formal mobile device management plan in place.
Furthermore, nearly 61 percent of all respondents said they were very concerned with security on public networks for their workforce, and about 30 percent are somewhat concerned. This roughly 90 percent that are concerned is reflected by responses to a question on how frequently laptop users “roam” or use non-corporate WiFi networks (such as public networks in coffee shops and libraries). A combined 60 percent of SMBs say their employees very often or occasionally use non-corporate WiFi networks, but 40 percent still only have their employees use these networks not often or rarely.
Thus 40 percent of SMBs are missing out on the huge advantage of employees being able to work from virtually any spot and also having ready access to corporate data and systems when they are meeting with clients offsite.
Alleviating SMB Web Security ConcernsSMB Web security concerns are not unfounded. Many companies of all sizes have suffered humiliating security breaches from incidents as simple as an employee leaving a mobile device behind in a public place, and it is logical to assume for every public incident there are many more that go unreported. With their limited financial and human resources to devote to securing mobile devices and networks, SMBs are even more at risk of security breaches caused by improper handling of or insufficient security for mobile devices.
Considering the nature of modern business, MSPs can and should alleviate these concerns. Clients now expect salespeople and other representatives of companies of all sizes to have full access to corporate systems at any meeting at any location. Remote workers and “BYOD” policies greatly decrease operational overhead and also open up a potentially global talent pool to even the smallest business. Managed mobile security services, scaled and priced to meet SMB needs by MSPs who specialize in this sector, can prove a critical factor in SMBs staying competitive with rivals who are able to cast aside fears about the security and reliability of mobile devices.