Inovus Intelligence - Insights on IT Alignment                             May 2015

Balancing Mobile Benefits Against Increasing Security Threats

Mobile capabilities are no longer optional in a business environment. Giving users unprecedented freedom in accessing and exchanging information, Internet-connected tablets and smartphones allow organizations both large and small not only to realize the efficiency and productivity gains of building virtual teams but also to accommodate the changing work-life balance of their employees.

As these employees increasingly use mobile devices to check email or access proprietary information (PI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) documents while away from the office, the organization becomes ever more vulnerable to data theft and loss. Given the rapidly rising incidence of data breaches and device theft, as well as the ubiquity of malicious software, the stakes today are very high.

Organizations must take steps to ensure that mobile communications are secure and that data is adequately protected, but not all organizations have IT departments with the resources or sophistication to satisfactorily identify and manage a growing array of potential vulnerabilities. Without bringing the appropriate policies, encryption, and remote access schemes to bear, any organization will find it difficult to be certain that it is fully managing security threats effectively.

Thoughtfully constructed mobile strategy and policy governance can establish a sweet spot that effectively manages risk, both by preserving critical data security and enabling functions that serve key business interests. Though mobile devices grow ever more capable, the question is not if they can support useful business functions, but whether or not they should. By balancing a sufficient level of access against an equally sufficient level of security —and do so without compromising the intuitive operation and utility of the device and its software— an organization can successfully achieve the agility and responsiveness that can come with the adoption of mobile technologies in the workplace.

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