Gartner: Phone Security Threats Loom, MDM Strategies Needed

Gartner: Phone Security Threats Loom, MDM Strategies Needed

While some industry executives may believe the days of bring your own device (BYOD) -- cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices -- are coming to an end, research firm Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) says that more businesses will be moving towards BYOD policies in 2013 and needing mobile device management (MDM) strategies. Indeed, a new Gartner survey reveals that 70 percent of companies plan to have BYOD policies in place in the next 12 months to let employees use personal mobile devices such as cell phones to connect to enterprise applications. Thirty-three percent of all organizations already have such policies in place. The results reveal that now is the time for companies to implement  MDM strategies. What are the ramifications of this shift? Here's what you need to know.

Managed service providers are in the ideal position to help companies create and implement mobile device strategies in a BYOD environment. Gartner offers the following three major impacts when moving to a BYOD policy:

  • The battle between the rights of employees and enterprise security policies -- The constant struggle between the security concern for employers and the privacy interest of employee will not end in 2013. Gartner encourages organizations to use MDM software to enforce policy on mobile devices -- good news for managed services providers (MDM) in the upcoming year. Gartner also suggests that organizations should consider using application whitelisting, blacklisting, and containerization.
  • User freedom makes it difficult to properly secure certain devices, as well as keep track of vulnerabilities and updates -- Should organizations use MSPs to handle MDM? Gartner makes pitching to clients a little easier for MSPs: "Allowing users, rather than the IT department, to select operating systems (OS) and versions of mobile devices opens the door to devices that are inadequate from a security standpoint." With regards to mobile security policy, the report suggests network access control policies should be used, encouraging preventative action should be taken to ban noncompliant devices or create an alert for them by using tools through MDM software.
  • The ownership of a device raises privacy concerns regarding data -- Gartner points out that most people who own a personal device believe that the data on the device is considered to be their own personal property. The information technology research and advisory company presents organizations with the concept of "remote wipe," creating an issue for organizations. Gartner explains that organizations should consider using their legal team for any devices that may need to be wiped.
Now is the time to have a talk with customers about their mobile device management plans. Worldwide sales of mobile phones has reached almost 428 million units in the third quarter of 2012, according to a recent Gartner report.
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