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CIOs Raise Security Concerns Around Backdoor Mobile Devices

Employee owned, ‘backdoor’ mobile devices entering the corporate network and the ‘WikiLeaks’ affair highlight ongoing security challenges with enterprise mobility, according to new research from Mformation® Technologies Inc.

“Enterprise mobility may well be a business imperative, but it remains a massive risk. Indeed, 67% of organizations today are more concerned about mobile data security because of the recent ‘WikiLeaks’ revelations. But this is only part of a more complex problem that most businesses face today,” said Todd DeLaughter, CEO of Mformation. “Attempts to improve the management of mobile devices such as smartphones and more recently laptops, netbooks and tablets as they connect over cellular networks are hampered by a number of challenges. For example, IT strategies such as simplifying management by standardizing on specific devices or platforms are regularly overturned by users, who now want to bring their own devices into the enterprise. First it was in the mobile phone arena. Now we are seeing employees bring in computing devices like the iPad and Galaxy tablets.”

According to the survey, 76% of CIOs say employee-owned mobile devices are creating security headaches. 78% don’t even know what devices are connected to the corporate network. Consequently, 77% of enterprises have no idea what data is on all of these devices. In fact, 1 in 3 aren’t able to track data on devices that they themselves issue to employees. More worryingly, in the likely event that a device is ever lost or stolen, only 56% of businesses are able to secure them.

Unlike traditional IT infrastructures, mobile platforms tend to be fragmented and are changing at a fast rate. This means that unique processes are required, even for standard management tasks such as security, software updates, device configuration and trouble shooting. These processes must also be performed over-the-air, as the device is often off the corporate network and becomes costly to recall for everyday support issues. Point solutions do exist to address the problem, but have significant limitations in terms of cost, as large upfront CAPEX investments are needed as well as the ability to keep up to date with the latest devices.

In fact, 77% of CIOs say that unlike management of traditional computing devices that are on the network, limited time and budget, coupled with increasing complexity has led to a lack of maturity when it comes to managing mobile devices.

Mr. DeLaughter, who previously ran HP’s OpenView business added: “From my past experience building enterprise IT management solutions, I was shocked at the lack of maturity around deployed management solutions for mobile devices compared to the traditional tools managing servers, routers and applications. IT is literally flying blind. Enterprise IT organizations need solutions that can integrate into existing IT service delivery frameworks and extend them with these new mobile device management capabilities. New models such as cloud-based device management from service providers and IT organizations are one route to solve this problem and support this category.”

Vanson Bourne, a research-based technology marketing consultancy, surveyed 200 CIOs from the United States and 100 from the United Kingdom working in organizations that employ more than 3,000 people.

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