Originally published on Inc.com – http://www.inc.com/krish-kupathil/mobile-technology-set-to-dominate-is-your-business-prepared.html | Written by: Krish Kupathil | 30 June 2015
With the mobile devices taking over the business workplace, SMBs are falling behind in filling the data security gaps.
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The rise of mobile devices in the enterprise environment has radically transformed workspaces and the way people work. They have enabled a more flexible environment for employees to work where they can work from anywhere, at any time. While this has given great freedom to employees, this phenomenon has increased corporate security threats. While large companies have the resources to set up systems and processes to tackle data security issues, unfortunately for SMBs, this still remains a relatively unchartered territory.
Start-ups, small and medium businesses still use fragmented or archaic data securitymeasures at their own risk. A recent Gartner study reveals that as much as 43 percent of SMBs go out of business as a result of data loss, while only 6 percent survive and remain unscathed by a data loss incident. Managing enterprise data security in an increasingly mobile environment has become equally or even more critical for small businesses as their larger counterparts.
Small Business Data Security: Challenges Galore
Small and medium businesses face some challenges that pose great risks to key business data.
Lack of Resources
Foremost among these is the lack of comprehensive IT resources, in terms of manpower as well as systems and software. Unlike large organizations that have an established IT team and an established IT framework of policies and processes, SMBs often have a weak or non-existent enterprise security policy and enforcement mechanism. Small businesses usually cannot afford high-end security software and large teams to manage their security. This results in the use of isolated security measures that do not give the coverage they need.
Another challenge is that these companies are increasingly using the bring your own device (BYOD) model. Thus, there is always the risk of mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets and USB drives getting infected with a virus or malware entering undetected in the company network.
Lack of an Industry-specific & Field Force Mechanism
Several small companies belonging to niche verticals (finance, health care, construction, etc.) need to follow the highest data confidentiality procedures to ensure client and government approval. Key customer data like medical case history, an organization’s financial reports or customer account details need extensive security coverage. Cyber-attacks or hacks in such scenarios can prove disastrous for the SMBs. In addition, a lot of companies outsource several tasks to other small entities and freelancers to save operational costs. In these scenarios, companies cannot monitor or have control to check on these remote teams working with critical business data and applications.
A simple but usually the most common problem riddling SMBs is human error. With businesses overly relying on manual processes, the chances of data getting deleted due to momentary oversight are highest. Such mistakes could prove costly in case there are no data backups in place and need to be restored using expensive data restoration processes.
A Manageability Platform: The Way to Go
Most SMBs fail to resolve these challenges due to the lack of comprehensive and affordable solutions. In such cases, companies need more than a conventional mobile device management (MDM) solution to manage mobile devices and ensure data security and management. SMBs will need a secure cloud-based manageability platform equipped with MDM capabilities and a secure and flexible OS with enterprise capabilities. Having a manageability platform, will not only help remotely monitor and control the growing number of devices, but will also aid the specific requirements of small businesses.
Usually small businesses have limited needs such as managing a set of sales personnel or a specific set of field workforce. For this, they need a platform where they can choose the services they need, like location tracking and geo-fencing. A manageability solution would allow companies to buy only those services instead of the entire software or platform, thereby meeting budgetary constraints.
Through manageability solutions, SMBs can outsource enterprise security to more specialized agencies. Companies can outsource specific functional areas like attendance management, in-house security, and surveillance to specialized security companies. This not only reduces the costs for the company but also provides the data in a collaborated way.
Another advantage of outsourcing is that it ensures the security of enterprise data and devices is performing at the optimum level. With regular monitoring and security reinforcements in place, this will ensure there are no security breaches and data security maintenance remains consistent.
The biggest area of concern for SMBs is the overall cost. Usually advanced MDM solutions are costly, and therefore out of reach for smaller companies. Mobile security manageability solutions are cloud-based, cheaper and perfectly suitable for small business requirements and budget. Also, a cloud-based MDM lowers deployment and maintenance costs as small businesses no longer need specialized IT resources to continuously manage and update the system. There is a huge cost benefit that SMBs get by saving on eliminating device procurement and associated data plans.
Increase in ROI
When companies save money on device procurement, MDM deployment and maintenance, it is a huge saving in terms of company overhead spending. In addition, it can also significantly increase employee productivity. Since most small business employees use their mobile phones to browse the Internet, social media or chat messengers, this results in loss of employee productivity resulting in greater losses for the company. However, a manageability solution can help companies monitor these applications on employee-owned devices, thereby increasing employee productivity.
With the mobile devices taking over the business workplace, SMBs are falling behind in filling the data security gaps. Manageability solutions are the next step forward to meet niche demands in a sustainable way.