The widespread adoption of intelligent mobile devices has transformed the way we work in innumerable ways. In 2012, IDC calculates that 712.6 million smartphones were shipped globally – 44.1% more than in 2011. In 2013, it predicts worldwide mobile tablet sales will reach 190.9 million, increasing the adoption of cloud and app-based solutions.
By 2016, mobile data traffic will have increased 18-fold, with smartphones, laptops, tablets and other portable devices driving around 90% of that traffic [Cisco]. Yet, alongside the countless new opportunities that these handy communications tools present for flexible workers, the continued rise in mobility also brings with it a myriad of potential security threats.
Most enterprises are already well-accustomed to protecting corporate data, including everything from commercial information to intellectual property and customer/employee information. However, the fact that mobile phones and tablets are small, portable and frequently used in public places or for downloading applications makes them particularly vulnerable to attacks and difficult to manage, especially compared with PCs.
In effect, these devices take corporate information out of the ‘safe’ corporate network and into unsecured environments, such as public Wi-Fi hotspots, and invite users to access a huge range of apps and websites.
The consequences of unwittingly falling foul of security threats can potentially go beyond the need for a simple repair to become far reaching. Whether it’s connecting to a bad Wi-Fi network in an internet café or downloading an app which contains malware, a single unintentional mobile security breach could potentially lead to financial and information loss, a privacy breach, loss of intellectual property or even damage to reputation.
As with other aspects of business, the cost of prevention is far lower than the cost of cure. For this reason, it is critical that today’s businesses assess their security environment and put the necessary protection in place to enable employees to work securely and without risk of infection, whenever and wherever in the world they may be.