Smartphones, tablets, social networks, and cloud services are all popular, incredibly useful — and a security risk. These days, the security focus is on mobile devices, as they tend to be used a lot to work with corporate information, but the variety of platforms, the fact many are employee-owned, and uneven security capabilities mean it’s a real challenge — sometimes an impossible challenge — to manage them in the same way as the corporate PC.
The issue is not so much hacking; outside of malware easily available in the Android's Google Play store, mobile devices are safer than PCs from hackers. Instead, the issue is inappropriate information usage, where employees inadvertently spill the beans about contacts, embarrass people, violate any number of privacy regulations, and neglect compliance obligations. Most people do it inadvertently, some people do it deliberately — but what matters is that they do it.
That puts organizations in an uncomfortable position. Survey after survey shows that technologically empowered users are happier and more productive, so businesses want to tap into that benefit. But they also have to safeguard their secrets and comply with regulations. The good news is that although the methods and tools are still new, there are known, proven approaches to reduce those risks without disabling the benefit of consumerization.
For mobile devices, these tools fall into several categories: data loss prevention, mobile data management, and mobile application management.