For many mid-sized organizations, the term “mobile workforce management” might seem beyond current business objectives. Managing enterprise file sharing between employees and their personal smartphones and laptops may feel like a distant peak on the range — something within sight but not yet a concern.
But if you don’t stay focused on what lies ahead, you risk getting caught in an avalanche of enterprise mobility problems, including data breaches, data leakage and data loss.
Employee-owned mobile devices used to access enterprise files will soon outnumber corporate-owned end points. Organizations that value enterprise file security must plan ahead to avoid data breaches, file destruction and compromised enterprise file security.
The Future Of Enterprise File Sharing
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplace culture is exploding amid the proliferation of powerful smartphones and tablets on the market. In early 2014, internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage for the first time.
Increasingly, employees expect the ability to use their personal devices for work. Businesses stand to benefit from this movement; mobile devices enable greater productivity and more robust communication. And, if industry predictions hold true, it means organizations will spend less money on hardware in the future.
By 2017, half of employers will require their employees to supply their own devices for work purposes, according to a 2013 Gartner survey.
Enterprise File Security
As the number of end points for enterprise file access increases, the threat to file security grows accordingly. Here are three of the biggest threats to enterprise file security amid the boom in mobile devices and BYOD:
1) No IT control: Personal laptops and smartphones are not managed devices; IT teams don’t know or control what apps employees use or how those apps interoperate with one another. Because the line between personal and business use blurs in the BYOD world, it’s essential that the line between enterprise data and personal data is clearly defined and impenetrable.
Aside from the obvious leakage and security concerns, less obvious (but just as concerning) issues also arise when the same device is used for both business and pleasure. For example, what if an employee downloads a copyrighted film onto their smartphone? An enterprise is liable for any material on its servers; how do you prevent copyrighted material from being uploaded to yours?
2) Third-party access: Data loss happens when end users upload enterprise data onto third-party cloud services such as Dropbox. Once your data is on a Dropbox cloud, it’s out of your control. For enterprises operating in highly regulated environments such as healthcare, insurance or finance, any customer data is considered sensitive information. Uploading sensitive customer data to a consumer-grade file sharing platform creates a compliance risk.
3) Device loss: Because it’s relatively easy for a mobile device to get lost or stolen, it’s important to ensure that the data on the device is secure irrespective of the device itself. When the data is protected, it doesn’t matter if the device is lost or stolen. Containerization, strong encryption and remote data wiping capabilities provided by today’s enterprise file sync & share (EFSS) platforms are designed to keep data safe, even if the device is not.
With mobile, if you don’t have control, you don’t know where your data is — and that’s a problem.
Think of enterprise mobility like a mountain expedition. You need proper planning and preparation to handle any unexpected obstacles along the way. One essential piece of equipment for your journey is a robust EFSS platform that’s capable of serving as a secure Dropbox alternative while keeping enterprise files as secure on personal mobile devices as they are on corporate desktops and severs.
Don’t view BYOD as a problem. With the proper enterprise file security platform, it’s possible to make end users happy and keep IT in control within a BYOD environment.