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Employee devices bring added security concerns

Courtesy of Cindy Bates, Vice President, Microsoft U.S. SMB group

The explosion in recent years of mobility solutions and ‘bring your own device’ policies has had a big impact on small businesses.

In fact, 52 percent of information workers across 17 countries report using three or more devices for work, according to research from Forrester and 61 percent of workers mix personal and work on their devices.

On one hand, there are huge benefits for organizations and employees — employees can be far more productive and work on the go with untethered access to the information they need. Business owners can also realize cost savings while reducing the time spent managing IT.  Yet, there are risks: namely, how do businesses protect confidential information from leaking outside of the organization when employees can access and store data in a multitude of ways across devices.

When employees use personal devices for work, they can be mishandled inadvertently, like an accidental forward of a confidential mail, or in more nefarious ways, such as a hacker gaining access to confidential information through stolen credentials.  According to a Verizon data breach investigation report, 75 percent of network intrusions used weak or stolen credentials to gain access.

It’s important to have a strong device policy in place but even when the rules are clear, there is room left for costly errors. CEB found that as many as 93 percent of employees admit to violating information security policies. That means, depending on your business, there is a wide variety of data that could be at risk.  It may be customers’ personally identifiable information, such as in healthcare, retail or financial institutions, or company confidential information, such as trade secrets, company financials, or employee records.  With so much data available, traditional company firewalls and perimeter solutions no longer suffice to protect confidential information wherever it lives.  Today, many small businesses are cobbling together a number of solutions to attempt to solve this problem.  But none tie it all together until now.

Microsoft has developed Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), which is the only comprehensive solution that protects information assets across four layers: user identity, content, applications & cloud services, and devices.  When combined with Office 365, it offers native protection for applications and services. Best of all, it’s about half the cost of competitive solutions. Not only is EMS flexible and easy to integrate, it offers enterprise-grade security for small businesses. Key security features include:

  • Threat detection: Detect abnormal user behavior, suspicious activities, known malicious attacks and security issues right away.
  • Conditional access: Control access to applications and other corporate resources like email and files with policy-based conditions that evaluate criteria such as device health, user location etc.
  • Single sign-on: Sign in once to cloud and on-premises web apps from any device. Pre-integrated support for Salesforce, Concur, Workday, and thousands more popular SaaS apps.

To learn more about protecting your business, check our other blog posts. Ready to integrate EMS? Use our Pinpoint site to help you find a partner.

Envision Consulting

Envision Consulting

We started Envision Consulting for businesses that share our passion for building long- term and healthy relationships. While we might be technology experts, we’ve always known that trust, reliability and looking after a client’s best interest are paramount to succeeding in business. But in 2001 and to this day, there were few managed IT providers available that embodied our customer-centric values. There were countless support companies more interested in reacting to issues than paving the road forward for clients, making it far too difficult to build long-term relationships. We felt a strong pull to make something different, and we did.