The adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies by enterprises in the Middle East is accelerating, but not without ongoing security concerns. Aruba Networks conducted a survey of Middle East IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) during GISEC, the region’s only large-scale information security exhibition and conference. The survey found that nearly 60% of organizations either already support BYOD or intend to do so in the near future. Still, ongoing security concerns reflect a general lack of preparedness in managing employee mobile devices, which is holding back broader adoption.
Most interestingly, the three main security threats to enterprise mobility were perceived to be vulnerabilities associated with the Android operating system (40%), device theft or loss (31%) and employees leaving the organization (30%), all of which can be effectively mitigated by utilizing the appropriate mobile management solutions. “While the workforce is clearly eager and ready to embrace mobility, employers in the Middle East are scrambling to catch up. They need to have measures in place to secure mobile devices and applications in a systematic and scalable manner,” said Bashar Bashaireh, Regional Director, Gulf and Pakistan, Aruba Networks Middle East. “We are seeing the emergence of a breed of workforce dubbed #GenMobile. This generation is blending work and play via their mobile devices and will further accelerate the need for IT to respond.”
According to Bashar, catering to the needs of the #GenMobile employee will require organizations to first invest in providing robust and secure wireless networks. This was supported by the survey which showed that the large majority (70%) of respondents prefer Wi-Fi over any other form of connectivity. Given that security remains a top priority for any mobility deployment, organizations also need to look into diversifying the tools they utilize for monitoring mobile networks and their usage, so that they can address every potential vulnerability. Endpoint security products remain the prime mode of defense utilized by organizations as stated by 47% of respondents, and only 17% said their organization had a mobile device management (MDM) solution in place.
Employee behavior has often resulted in security breaches for organizations. With personal computing devices entering the corporate environment, this is even more of a threat. Despite this, less than 33% of respondents said their organizations conduct employee trainings relating to enterprise mobility, thus overlooking a vital part of the BYOD success equation.
With the newest smart devices now available at affordable prices, it is no longer only high-level employees who own the latest smart phones and tablets. Consequently, even employees down the ranks are now expressing a desire to access work on their personal mobile devices. Driving employee satisfaction as well as productivity requires organizations to safely support the mobile aspirations of all employees. 44% of respondents however stated that their organizations believe BYOD support should only be extended to upper management and high-level executives. Unless this mentality changes, businesses will risk creating a divide within their own work forces.
“Restricting enterprise mobility rather than offering and properly controlling it can negatively impact an organization. In the era of the #GenMobile employee, organizations that create a work environment conducive to mobility will be able to attract and retain the best talent,” said Bashar.
Aruba Networks is a leading provider of next-generation network access solutions for the mobile enterprise. As part of its product portfolio, Aruba ClearPass access management solution is designed to provide a window into the enterprise network and covers all network security & access control requirements from a single platform. More information can be found at www.arubanetworks.com/products/clearpass