Just as organisations are starting to get to grips with the challenges of BYOD, they have to get used to employees wanting to bring their own applications and collaboration tools to work as well. Individuals are downloading their own favourite mobile apps – often with a view to doing their work more quickly and efficiently.
However, many mobile applications are inherently insecure, which is a real concern for organisations that must prevent data loss or leakage, particularly in sectors such as financial services, government and the pharmaceuticals industry.
Access to a browser, or to corporate email, calendar and contacts, seems no longer enough for today's mobile workers. Employees want the most up-to-date information at their fingertips and access to the business applications they use daily, and to share work files easily wherever they are.
Many are used to visiting app stores, installing software of their choice whenever they want and configuring it to their taste. They expect the same freedom when it comes to the productivity, travel, networking, media or news apps they use at work.
Many workers are already familiar with using apps such as Dropbox to store and organise files, music and images. The concern is if they are now using these services to share confidential work files and documents via different mobile devices, with little thought for data security or the legal consequences of their actions.
Some companies are taking a traditional approach and banning use of all non-authorised mobile business apps, which certainly makes life easier for the IT department.
Do not ban them. Instead, secure the data, before securing the mobile device itself.
In addition, some companies might want to consider developing their own custom applications and corporate app "stores" for employees to download.
The channel also needs to educate its customers about the security consequences of installing and using insecure or non-approved software and apps at work.
Andy Jacques is general manager for EMEA at Good Technology
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