Could BYOD Security Woes Follow Fall Phone Announcements?

By | Sep 11, 2012

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is one of the growing trends in the workplace, and it's likely to get even bigger. The end of summer has brought a rash of announcements from mobile device manufacturers about the new devices that people may want to bring to the workplace.

Device Announcements

What could this mean for IT administrators at midsize businesses? Let's first look at some of the new devices. There are several new members of established families such as the Galaxy Stellar smartphone available with Android Ice Cream Sandwich, 4G and LTE as well as a respectable screen and processor, according to The Street. Midsize IT administrators may think twice about allowing Samsung devices given the ongoing legal battle with Apple over patent infringement, but there are plenty of other devices.

The big announcement this fall is the launch of the iPhone 5. As this Midsize Insider article points out, the original iPhone was largely responsible for the start of the BYOD trend several years ago, and it remains a hugely popular device. In the last few years, though, devices from rival manufacturers have been getting closer to providing a similar user experience. Several of them have chosen to jump ahead of the expected September 12 Apple launch with announcements of their own.

These include a new smart phone from Nokia, which has abandoned its trademark Symbian operating system and replaced it with the Windows Phone system in a last-ditch attempt to save its faltering phone business. Motorola, another former phone powerhouse, is also announcing new models, with a much-anticipated addition to the Razr range. Sony and Samsung have already made their announcements. Meanwhile new Amazon Kindles are also due out, says the New York Times.

Issues for IT Administrators

Consumers will be very happy with an even wider range of mobile devices and tablets to choose from. However, these announcements raise issues for IT administrators. That's because more and more employees will want to use their shiny new toys not just at home but in the workplace. And that could be a security nightmare.

At many midsize businesses, IT departments just are not ready for the extra workload of testing and securing mobile devices for safe use within a company network. And that's what needs to happen if the BYOD trend is to avoid posing an unacceptable risk. It is essential that IT administrators address issues of mobile viruses, spyware and malware and play a part in educating mobile device users about their responsibility for keeping company data secure.

With a shared approach to data security perhaps the fall device lineup need not be a nightmare and can bring benefits to everyone.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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