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April 29, 2013

Playing Risk at the BYOD Party

Bring your device to work day: it started as a show-and-tell by the early adopters in the office and quickly turned from a ritual of bragging rights and jealous stares into company policy. Bring your own device (BYOD) makes sense. Smartphones and tablets are becoming so ubiquitous that it seems absolutely absurd for an IT department to blow its budget on providing uniform mobile devices to all employees, most of whom already have their own, simply for the sake of security, especially when a variety of mobile management solutions are available.

A survey conducted by Symantec shows that businesses are all on the same page. BYOD is here to stay, despite the security risks inherent in having sensitive information on the personal devices of employees.

Through this survey, conducted at Symantec Vision on a sample of 236 attendees, the IT security company wanted to better understand the needs in the office environment with the BYOD trend firmly locked in place due to necessity. Finding that most companies allow for work to be done on personal mobile devices despite awareness of security risks, Symantec needed to know what areas are most in need of protection.

The rundown of mobile related incidents in the past 12 months break down to the usual suspects. Devices being lost or stolen is tied in first with spam, the former a risk with any mobile technology personal or business. Malware and phishing attacks were less frequent, but still occurred. Finishing in last place with 19 incidents in the past year was the exposure of confidential information.

These incidents are taken in stride by the surveyed. Seventy percent of the organizations reported that the benefits of having their employees use personal mobile devices to perform work tasks negate the security risks.

Banking on the hope that the statistic of 83 percent of organizations currently allowing BYOD will increase, a prediction supported by the number of employees who use their personal devices regardless of company policy, Symantec is sure to provide security solutions. The Symantec Mobile Management Suite exists to allow for standardized cross-platform security.

Symantec competes with other big names in IT security for this privilege, like McAfee and Citrix. Mobility management is the name of the security game, and by the looks of this survey, the policy on equipment is BYOD.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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