Along with the many business benefits that companies can achieve by giving workers the tools to do their jobs while they are out of the office, organisations also face a number of new information security risks, as end-users do more of their work from outside the corporate firewall.
When workers mostly worked from within the walls of the organisation, it was relatively easy for IT managers to secure networks and devices. By contrast, end-users today walk around with mobile devices in their pockets and briefcases that can store reams of sensitive data and be used to access network resources from nearly anywhere in the world.
According to Robyn Milham, head of sales for Southern Africa at Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind BlackBerry, coverage of the country by high-speed cellular networks, falling mobile data costs, smartphones and tablets that offer as much performance punch and usability as desktop computers have all helped to make the mobile workforce a reality.
"Mobility can turn into a security nightmare for organisations that don't have the right technology and processes in place to protect the information stored on and transmitted from mobile devices, from dangers such as malware and theft." Business risks
The business risks of an unsecured device falling into the wrong hands can be enormous. They include public embarrassment and bad press; theft of sensitive financial and customer data or intellectual property, legal trouble and strained relationships with customers.
"Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets can be easily lost or stolen since they are small and portable. Ensuring that unauthorised users cannot access the data the device stores or use it to access corporate network resources is perhaps the single biggest priority for mobile security," says Milham.
A platform that allows companies to centrally set, manage and enforce security policies for mobile devices is essential to safeguard corporate information.
"Since most organisations are managing a mix of mobile devices as a result of an increasingly mobile workforce and consumerisation of IT, companies need to start to invest in cross-platform mobile device management (MDM) solutions. RIM has introduced Mobile Fusion, our next-generation enterprise mobility solution, to address this need." Integrates market-leading features
It provides a single unified console for easily managing the brand's smartphones, tablet and devices using Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems. It integrates the market-leading features and security architecture of the company's Enterprise Server (version 5.0.3), providing advanced IT management and controls, a single outbound security connection, enforceable IT policies, support for balance technology and over-the-air app and software installation capabilities for the management of its smartphones and tablets.
"BlackBerry Balance accepts the reality that many users will want to use the same device for personal and work tasks. It allows employees to carry one device for both work and personal use and view both work and personal information in an integrated way while keeping the content separate and secure," Milham concludes.