KEY POINTS

  • Enterprise mobility — the practice of allowing employees to complete work tasks remotely through mobile devices — is on the rise. We expect mobile workers to comprise 72% of the US workforce in 2021, up from 65% in 2016.
  • This practice is great for boosting productivity, but it also exposes companies to significant security threats. Nearly two-thirds of companies in Dell’s global survey said they are holding back plans to make their workforce more mobile because of security concerns.
  • That's because the number of malicious programs launched by hackers and targeting mobile is rising exponentially, and malware targeting mobile is becoming more sophisticated. The number of new mobile malware threats discovered more than doubled from Q1 2015 to Q4 2015, according to a report from McAfee Labs. 
  • Despite the security risks, companies are increasingly moving to Bring Your Own (BYO) device and app strategies for employees. These strategies improve employee satisfaction, but complicate enterprise security. Nearly three-quarters of security professionals surveyed by Crowd Research Partners said their company has a BYO device policy.
  • Enterprises are still struggling with several basic challenges in securely implementing BYO policies. Companies need to allow employees a fair amount of flexibility in how they use mobile devices for work so they don't bypass basic company security policies. They also need to deal with device fragmentation and a lack of visibility into what devices are connected to the enterprise.
  • Enterprises and vendors are turning to software-level management tools, combined with mobile security solutions, to minimize the risk of a hack originating from an employee's mobile device. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions provide tools for monitoring employee devices or apps and ensuring that enterprise data can't be stolen off a device.
  • Aside from using software management tools, implementing best practices can also make BYO policies much less risky from a security standpoint. Enterprises should train employees about cybersecurity threats and gather early input from security teams.
  • In the future, the data that enterprise mobile applications will access will increasingly reside in the cloud. This will provide added security benefits, as it will provide a centralized point where companies will be able to see all of the devices accessing enterprise data and networks. 

Introduction

Enterprise mobility — the practice of allowing employees to complete work tasks remotely through mobile devices — is on the rise. We expect mobile workers to comprise 72% of the US workforce in 2021, [...]