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Are smartphones compromising network security measures?

IT security concerns regarding the use of mobile platforms to access sensitive company information are being prioritized by companies around the world. Human Resources Journal recently explored a Cisco study revealing that 95 percent of executives in a 600-business survey allow workers to access company data and use business applications on their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Despite the vast majority of organizations adopting BYOD policies, network security has encountered difficulties in trying to keep up with the mobile revolution. 

Companies weigh risks and rewards of BYOD implementation
Human Resources Journal explained the dilemma of business leaders who seek to increase productivity by letting employees work using their personal technology. The Cisco study showed that BYOD has brought an extra $300 to $1,300 annually to companies that opt for it, although IT expenditures are up 20 percent in the past few years as a result of mobile implementations. Decision-makers need to be aware of the differences between the varieties of smartphone, tablet and laptop use when it comes to mobilizing work forces.

"It's one thing to just let an employee-owned device on the [corporate Wi-Fi] network [for browsing or social networking] and not allow access to enterprise applications, and that penetration is pretty high," IDC analyst Rohit Mehra said in a statement for the report. "But the real proof in the pudding is how many users have true enterprise application access with their devices, and those numbers are still relatively low."

Taking preemptive action is key for networks utilizing BYOD
​Instead of sticking with the same security measures used for internal networks, companies need to reconfigure their strategies to accomodate the new wave of mobile data and application use. According to a recent article from SC Magazine, smartphones are the primary targets for malicious software that attempts to steal private information belonging to individuals or corporations. New malware known as the 'XXXX' botnet has already been found on 23,856 smartphones and may have affected many more without user knowledge. 

While the program was designed to gather information rather than utilize it for criminal purposes, sensitive company data should never have to be compromised. Businesses that implement loose BYOD security policies may fall victim to software similar to XXXX that could end up selling private data and customer information. Comprehensive database security measures are necessary for any company making changes to accommodate mobile platforms.

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