MSPs Can Help SMB Customers Pursue BYOD -- Safely

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) adoption is on the rise among smaller businesses, a key market for managed-services providers (MSPs). MSPs have an opportunity to help their customers develop security policies, install mobile device-protection solutions and educate users on security.

Webroot Guest Blogger

October 29, 2014

3 Min Read
MSPs Can Help SMB Customers Pursue BYOD -- Safely

Small and medium businesses are adopting BYOD in a big way.

That hasn’t always been the case. Until recently, smaller business were reluctant to permit BYOD. But an IDC study earlier this year documented a dramatic reversal in thinking. The research firm identified SMBs as the market segment showing the highest growth in BYOD uptake. Only a year ago, nearly half of small business IDC surveyed adhered to a zero-access BYOD position.

This rise in BYOD acceptance among smaller businesses is significant for MSPs, many of which target SMBs as a core market. While SMBs may feel more at ease with BYOD, they face a significant security risk in expanded mobile usage. This risk of employees losing their devices — along with sensitive company data — is certainly a prime concern. In addition, mobile devices are increasingly prone to malware infections, which can rapidly spread to corporate networks.

An SMB, however, may have no mobile device security policy or a very limited one. A Webroot-commissioned study found that the most employee devices lack real security: only 19 percent of employees took the time to install a full security app and 64 percent of employees use only the security features native to their devices.

SMB managers need to mitigate the risk of their companies’ new-found mobility, securing the devices employees use of the job. An MSP can turn that imperative into a business opportunity. Here are a few ways MSPs can help customers get a better handle on mobile security in the BYOD context:

Provide risk assessment policy development — SMB customers may be keen to pursue BYOD, but they may or may not be fully aware of the security pitfalls. An SMB can play a consulting role here, performing risk assessment and helping small business managers create mobile device security policies.

Deploy security solutions — With a policy in place, the next step is to offer a supporting layer of security technology. SMBs, unfortunately, may provide employees little in the way of advanced security capabilities. An MSP can step up to the plate with solutions that protect employee devices as well as the SMB’s data and networks. Webroot’s SecureAnywhere Mobile Protection, for example, is a cloud-based solution for Android and iOS that includes antivirus, secure web browsing and downloads, and lost device tracking and protection.

Offer change management/employee education — Security policies and technologies are of no value if employees don’t use them or find ways around them. A recent Ponemon Institute survey of IT managers identified employee resistance and the ability to implement and enforce a mobile device use policy as the two biggest obstacles blocking effective mobile security strategies. While employees may flout policies they view as onerous or intrusive, they may also respond by giving up on using their devices in the office. The Webroot study noted that nearly half of the people it surveyed would stop using personal devices for work if an employer mandated the use of a particular security app. In short, a SMB can’t expect to plop down a security policy and expect immediate, unquestioning adherence. An MSP can help clients offer a change management and employee education effort that cultivates user buy-in.

Ready To Set the Security Tone?

An SMB must develop a BYOD security strategy strong enough to protect devices and data, but flexible enough to accommodate users who need to get work done. The astute MSP can help customers meet their security and worker productivity goals.

Monthly guest blogs such as this one from Webroot are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.


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