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Will Two Mobile Devices Become the Standard?

Posted by Dillon MacInnis on Wed, Jul 01, 2015


Mobile technology is surely altering the way in which businesses conduct themselves. It is an investment that few are willing to disregard. Increases in productivity and efficiency, enhancement of management capability, promotion of communication, and greater access to information are all irrefutable practical advantages of integrating mobile devices into a business network. There are, however, evident disadvantages as well when upgrading a business model to include mobile technology. While high data service and IT management costs as well as initial unfamiliarity with the application market can lead a business away from exploring this technology, it is growing security complications that are the most inconvenient consequence of a mobile business network.

Adoption of mobile technology exposes a business to several new security threats. As mobile devices are commonly used to connect to the web, they are placed at risk of interacting with malicious code. This makes information vulnerable to being stolen and may inadvertently facilitate the process of malware finding its way on to a device. Additionally, when users connect a business device to an unsecure Wi-Fi network, business information becomes hazardously accessible. The danger of physically misplacing, irresponsibly sharing, or being robbed of a mobile device can grant a stranger access to an entire business network. Consequently, business data needs to be encrypted, and devices need to be able to be remotely wiped of all applications and information. Although mobile technology raises these security concerns, mobile security technology continues to develop in response. High and intangible risks, however, require aggressive and strategic opposition. As a result, it is not necessarily the security risks themselves that threaten the business environment. Instead, it is the complicated implementation of security solutions that introduces an additional challenge.

Integration of mobile technology into a business model requires the development of internally universal user and device standards. This places several limits on what a user can and cannot do with their mobile device. Employees using regulated business devices are unable to visit particular webpages, connect to unsecure networks, or download restricted software. While these regulations are enforced for good reason, users may be prevented from taking the same potentially rewarding liberties that they otherwise would when using technology that they had purchased themselves. Security measures can also make accessing a mobile device far more difficult for the user. Some security solutions require a two-factor authentication process. This demands a user to authorize access to their device through two processes, which could include inputting a passcode, using a key, or being approved by another user. Two-factor authentication systems are a strong security measure but a time consuming operation. Overall, while these features make secure mobile information sharing possible, they can sacrifice the consumer experience that a user may have expected to enjoy when using a particular mobile device.

While business mobile security solutions are both necessary and effective, users should not understand the product they are using in the same way as the consumer smartphones that they could purchase themselves. Private business information is sensitive and valuable, and security is vital. Currently, this means that there is a tradeoff. Mobile devices can improve a business model and provide important tools to employees, but this may affect their ability to use their device in both their personal and work environment. Personal devices interact with cars, smart TVs, smart watches, and other devices that only increase security risk. Some of the steps taken to resolve this concern may reduce a user’s ability to maintain the integrated experience that was sold to them by mobile device marketing. As a consequence, business users may have to choose between accepting the limitations of using a business device outside of work (assuming that they are permitted to do so) and purchasing a personal mobile device.

This paradox of needing advanced security protocol, wanting the freedom to use a device resourcefully, and hesitating to carry two devices is not an uncommon challenge for business professionals. As a result, there are many individuals that do elect to use two different devices in their alternative settings. While this solution can be inconvenient, it is not entirely impractical. Users are able to get exactly what they want from each device. Additionally, this is becoming more popular as mobile security becomes a greater concern and solutions become widely executed. This movement begins a new conversation about mobile technology in business. Although different devices are already marketed towards contrasting audiences, perhaps this two-device trend may mean the potential division of the mobile market into business and personal devices. We may eventually encounter specialized business devices with incorporated security technology, which are optimized for an entirely different purpose than that of a smartphone. This would mean that professionals would not only accept that they are using two devices but would also assume that it is the case. Furthermore, this could instead be a temporary fix to a temporary problem. Mobile security solutions continue to progress, and the security process may become both simpler and more effective. Two devices may become only a temporary standard, and the option to use a device professionally and personally may eventually reinstate itself. The professional purpose for mobile technology, however, is constantly evolving as the size and meaning of a network changes. Ultimately, it is likely that there will be significant changes in mobile technology regardless, as devices advance from coordinating with information technology to becoming information technology.

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Tags: Mobile Device Management, Data Security

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