How SMEs can approach the BYOD security problem

Kaspersky Lab describes the must-have capabilities of SME security software

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How SMEs can approach the BYOD security problem Today even SMEs require a BYOD strategy.
By  Kaspersky Lab Published  March 10, 2013

Whereas, over the past few years, consolidation has been the name of the game, we are now seeing a clear trend towards increasing numbers of IT devices in companies.

In addition to traditional workplace PCs, more and more employees are using mobile devices, such as netbooks, smartphones and tablets.

Optimum security with increasing numbers of devices

The number of IT devices in corporations is trending in just one direction: straight up. At the same time, however, IT departments are being streamlined, with administrators juggling numerous projects in addition to their daily duties. Combined management and security software makes everything manageable.

Whether or not their company uses a bring-your-own-device policy, employees today are using more IT devices than ever before. According to a survey carried out by Kaspersky Lab of 3300 companies worldwide, almost 80% of companies expect to see an increase in the number of IT devices used by their employees over the next year. Around 44% expect up to 10% more devices; 27% expect an increase of 10% to over 50%, and 8% of the companies surveyed expect a large increase of more than 50%. A further 16% of companies expect their device count to remain stable, while just 4% assume that the number of IT devices will decrease over the next year. No doubt, administrators understand this means more work for them as all these additional devices must not only be managed, but also incorporated into corporate security strategies.

Additional requirements

Only rarely does adding more IT devices mean setting up more on-site workstations. In most cases, the devices used are laptops, tablets or smartphones. As these are used not just at employees' desks, but also on the road, at customers' premises and at home, they place additional demands on IT security. If something goes wrong, administrators often find themselves having to provide remote assistance. Only a small percentage of the devices for which administrators are responsible are actually inside company walls. The rest may be scattered around the globe. A few years ago, only globally active companies with multiple branches in different countries had to deal with these issues. Today, however, even small companies, particularly SMEs, are affected by them.

Counteract loss of control

If companies in this category find large enterprise management solutions too complex, they cannot, however, allow control over their devices to slip out of their hands. The situation is further complicated by the fact that very few companies are increasing their IT budgets; quite the opposite. Looking at human resources development for IT administrators shows that cuts are being made in multiple areas. Whereas, in 2011, 24% of the companies surveyed by Kaspersky had 250 (or more) IT employees, in 2012 this figure was just 15%. This consolidation is affecting companies of all sizes, meaning that fewer and fewer employees must keep ever-increasing numbers of IT devices running smoothly and securely. To prevent this task from spelling disaster for companies, IT administrators must become more productive. A combination of management and security software is recommended.

Simple management, perfect security

The words "system management" tend to send shivers down administrators' spines, with many assuming that they refer to complex and overblown software for major corporations. This is, however, not necessarily the case. The perfect solution for small and medium-sized companies combines device management with the latest security technology and features a unified interface to enable the management of workstations, laptops and smartphones. Solutions which allow administrators to adjust devices' security configurations directly from this interface, when applying patches or checking malware warnings, for example, provide added value. The software should support administrators in these areas by providing automation and templates. These features allow recurring tasks to be completed with minimal effort, thus freeing up time for other duties.

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