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Enterprises should enhance BYOD security, Gartner says

The mobile device market for enterprises is holding steady and is expected to grow, according to a recent Gartner survey.


Enterprises should enhance BYOD security, Gartner says

byod, security, password

The mobile device market for enterprises is holding steady and is expected to grow, according to a recent Gartner survey. Ninety percent of global enterprises have deployed mobile devices and 86 percent plan to deploy tablets in 2012. Gartner's research revealed a disparity in the levels of support depending on country. Forty-four percent of companies in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) provide technical support for employee-owned devices, compared to 28 percent in other regions.

According to Chae-Gi Lee, Research Director at Gartner, one of the reasons for the different levels of technical support is the way these regions view BYOD. Mature countries look at the security and compliance challenges BYOD can create, while BRIC companies view the bring your own device trend (BYOD) and virtualization as a solution to limiting theft of company hardware.

Mobile device security: an inevitable requirement

While business perspectives on BYOD vary by region, Lee noted that it is an inevitable outcome businesses must prepare for.

Lee suggested business leaders should focus on mobile data protection, network access control and mobile device management tools to support BYOD. The research firm recommended developing a mobile strategy team as part of the IT department.

"Healthy growth in smartphone and media tablet shipments over the next five years will enable a much higher level of IT consumerization than is currently possible," said Lee. "Enterprises should recognize this and look to 'mobile enable' their IT infrastructure for employees to meet the growing demand for mobile device use in the enterprise IT environment."

BYOD may improve mobile device security

Although BYOD can preset security challenges, it may also present opportunities, according to a recent Business Review Canada article.

The article highlighted two-factor authentication as one of the security features BYOD can enhance. Traditional methods for implementing two-factor authentication combine security features like passwords with a physical security object, usually a token. The problem with implementing a two-factor solution using traditional security tokens is the physical objects are likely to be lost or damaged, causing a large number of replacements. However, employee-owned smartphones may offer a solution to the challenge, since employees tend to take good care of their own mobile phones. According to the article, it could be as easy as installing an application on employee smartphones to make the devices themselves function as the security token.

Both the Business Review article and a Computer Technology Review article highlighted the effectiveness of cloud solutions in improving BYOD security. Cloud-based solutions have the advantage of scalability and allow organizations to deploy solutions quickly, without the large upfront costs that often come with in-house infrastructures.

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