Enterprises must balance productivity and security in the mobile environment

October 8, 2014

Mobile apps are becoming the new battleground in the war between productivity and security in IT. Mobile apps for enterprise have been touted for their promise of revolutionizing the workplace – allowing employees to work from anywhere, stay connected to one another and access critical data at a moment's notice. With enterprise growing more agile, smart companies are looking for any advantage they can get over their competitors especially when it comes to speed and responsiveness.

On the other side of the argument, some feel that the adoption of mobile technology in the workplace must be done with prudence. All IT infrastructure, mobile or not, must be as secure as possible considering that the company's most critical asset – its data – is stored and accessed through it. Because mobile apps are a nascent technology in IT, some feel that adequate security features have not been incorporated and thus, enterprise should avoid it for now.

Mobile is coming, like it or not
While some IT departments remain hesitant to adopt mobile technology for their workforce, they can't hold out forever. IT Pro Portal reported that 70 percent of enterprises believe providing more mobile support to employees over the next year is a high priority. The number of workers downloading enterprise apps onto their mobile devices increased 20 percent from Q1 to Q2 2014. As more employees activate enterprise apps on their own personal devices, companies are looking for ways to secure workflows between the worker-owned devices and the business' IT infrastructure.

Securing mobile workflows
Employees' personal devices generally fall outside of management's reach in terms of enforcement of security protocols. But as mobile grows in popularity, workplaces are adjusting and fostering a bring-your-own-device, or BYOD environment.

Forbes reported that for this reason, employees must be trained in proper security measures, such as securing their devices outside the workplace, avoiding invalidated websites and obtaining company permission before downloading any apps onto the device. Posting any information to personal social network profiles can also lead to a security breach.

While security starts with the employees, enterprises must do their part – multilevel authorizations, data control policies and single sign on are all ways in which companies can secure their proprietary data.

In the mobile world, enterprises and their employees must come to a mutual understanding about how business should be conducted when working in the mobile environment.