Personal mobile devices on the corporate network are rapidly becoming a concern for all sizes of UK organisation, from home offices to large enterprises, according to a November survey sponsored by security vendor Eset.
Answers submitted to CRN’s opinion poll reflected a diverse range of customer organisations among the technology providers that responded - most of which are registering concerns about intra-organisation consumerisation.
The largest tranche - 30.2 per cent of respondents - have a focus on small businesses with six to 50 staff, followed by those concentrating on enterprise customers with 250 or more employees, who comprised 26.8 per cent of those who answered the poll.
Some 24.8 per cent of those quizzed concentrate on medium-sized customers with 51 to 250 staff. About 18.1 per cent of the total that responded focus primarily on small or home office companies with up to five staff.
A good 67.1 per cent of the respondents themselves were relatively small companies, with no more than 25 staff. Another 16.8 per cent have 26 to 100 employees of their own.
Consumerisation seems to be affecting a rising number of these organisations as half of the total registered some increase in their customers’ use of smartphones or tablet devices such as the Apple iPad.
Only seven per cent said they have seen no increase in their customers’ use of such devices recently. Fourteen per cent indicated they have experienced a large increase in such device use, while 11 per cent said they have experienced only a little.
Furthermore, 63 per cent of respondents said some of their customers are seeing more workers expecting to be able to connect their own devices to the corporate network. Some 54 per cent said many of their customers are in that position.
One technology provider said: “It is difficult to add policies to mobile devices without the additional mobile device management or synch solution in place.”
Another respondent noted: “The downloading of all types of data to tablet and other mobile devices is very common, and there is limited protection available on these devices.”
Just seven per cent indicated they have not found that any of their customers have more workers wanting to hook up their tablets, smartphones or similar to the organisational network.
Consumerisation moves centre stage
Resellers and other technology providers that tackle these issues alongside their vendor partners would, it appears, benefit both themselves and their customers.
Users have cited a loss of control, a need for compliance with an increasing body of regulation, and the fact that increasing numbers and types of devices has multiplied the potential number of holes available for leaks and hack attacks.
CRN’s opinion poll found that 65.7 per cent of respondents overall are worried about the security risks posed by personal mobile devices increasingly being connected to the corporate network.
The channel clearly has a role to play here, even though 34.3 per cent of those polled registered no concerns about consumerisation on the network. According to one respondent: “iPads and smartphones do not pose a security threat.”
While several conceded that there remain malware risks on “some devices”, another noted that correct IT security policies in many instances can preclude any problems, and a third contended that there are not enough end users actually using the technologies in this way for the risk to be a concern.
This perhaps suggests a potential avenue for ongoing education about the security risks that do exist and their extent, by resellers and their vendor partners.
■ See the next two issues of CRN for the third and fourth parts of this series, which explore how the channel can tackle consumerisation issues to the benefit of all stakeholders
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