Over the last few years, the boom in mobile devices has seen some employers allow staff to bring and use their personal technology at work. Dubbed BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), this policy offered businesses savings on purchasing and maintaining equipment themselves, as well as increased efficiency and flexibility for employees.

However, the use of personal mobile devices can also pose a considerable threat to an organisation’s security. With the Covid pandemic forcing more people to work remotely, the issue of managing the use of mobile devices is more relevant than ever. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to protect your business.

The Risk Of Mobile Device Use

Unfortunately, when your employees use a personal mobile device, it can expose your organisation to a number of threats. These include malware from downloads of emails and applications, data breaches caused by use of unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, and the risks created if the device is lost or stolen.

Shadow IT (where devices or apps are used without the knowledge of IT staff) is another area of concern, as it opens up the possibility of employees using entirely unsuitable and unsecured devices or apps. There are other factors to consider, too, such as the security of company files should a member of staff leave your employment, and costly liability issues for your business should the worst happen.

What You Must Do To Protect Your Businesses

Despite the risks, the reality today is that a great many employees will be using their personal mobile devices for work. Therefore, it’s important that you adopt a proactive strategy for managing this usage.

First of all, it’s crucial that you carry out a full and thorough audit of all the mobile devices being used within your company. The protective management steps will simply not be as effective if there are any devices unaccounted for.

Staff training is another integral part of a successful device management programme. Employees must be aware of the risks posed by their own behaviour, such as browsing unreliable websites, using unsecured public internet hotspots, and downloading questionable applications.

As part of a broader cyber security training curriculum, making sure staff are aware of their own role in protecting the business can be very effective – after all, it’s estimated by the UK ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) that 90% of data breaches are the result of human error. It’s good practice to draw up guidelines for the acceptable use of any mobile devices used by employees for work.

There are other practical steps which can be taken to protect your business, too. You may already have access to tools such as remote wiping and password enforcement, so check any security software package that you already have in place, or contact the vendor for advice. There is now also a range of dedicated mobile device management software available, which can deliver an impressive range of defences against threats.

The widespread availability of mobile devices has certainly opened up some excellent advantages for organisations. After all, having the capacity to work anywhere that there is an internet connection can transform productivity and efficiency rates, and this year especially has seen mobile devices more than prove their weight in gold.

However, the inherent risks associated with the use of mobile devices must not be overlooked, and it’s essential that your business has a robust mobile device management strategy in place. Mobile Device Management is a burgeoning field of solutions which can help you to do exactly that. In this way, you can continue to enjoy the many benefits of mobile device use, without the fear of exposing your business to unnecessary threat.