It’s an amazing digital world that we live in; a world where we can talk to and see anyone, anywhere, through touch screens from four inches to four metres, control machines with thought and operate driverless cars. Tolkien himself could not have imagined such a world.
We are all connected, accessing loads of different stuff on millions of different devices. Some of us are working better, being more mobile, more flexible and more efficient and with more choice about how, when and where we work.
But, as Gandalf might say ‘Is it secret? Is it safe?’
In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo had indeed kept the ring of power both secret and safe. But in the real world, are we keeping the power held in our data secret and safe? In terms of mobile devices, there is ample evidence that we are not.
A recent report from Ovum and Samsung commented on by Insight (I would love to link you to the full report but Samsung do not tell me how) on the Future of Work reveals that ‘around a third of all BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) activity is invisible to the IT department’ and ‘nearly two thirds are not working to any formal IT policy’.
Another report, referenced by Fierce CIO, reveals that 15% of employees (from a survey of 500) felt no responsibility towards security of mobile devices, with 10% not having any form of log-in mechanism in place. Employees also access confidential information on public wireless connections (43%) with many installing six or more third-party applications (45%).
Many businesses worry about cloud security, thinking that their data is vulnerable on huge great servers that, actually, would cost the operators far too much money to allow them to go wrong (more on that here). No, the real danger is much closer to home and business owners, IT departments and employees are not always giving these security issues the diligence they deserve.
Every employee with a mobile device and who conducts work on that device should be part of a planned policy that provides best practice. This would include any data stored on the device, how it connects to the internet, protecting the device through log-on protocols and the data through encryption and looking at and approving, if necessary, any apps downloaded. This is true of company devices but especially true of BYOD devices.
The risks are not just about lost or stolen data, but also about viruses and sabotage, data protection issues and credibility with clients and prospects as well as potential legal action. The world is moving forward and there are opportunities to work in ways that better suit businesses and employees and provide far greater freedom and choice. This, in turn, however, brings its own problems and business owners would be well advised to take greater lengths to keep their data secret and safe.