While the increased use of mobile devices across an enterprise supports innovation and agility, it also increases several disturbing business risks. The rapid growth of mobile initiatives in enterprise business over the past few years has activated the use of a vast amount of unmanaged and unsecure devices with access to critical data and information -- and with the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT), even more unmanaged devices are starting to appear across enterprises, taking business risks to an even higher level.
Just what risks do mobile devices in the enterprise entail? Below is more information about the increased business risks enterprises will encounter when they have unmanaged devices.
Security Threats and Data Leaks
When devices used across an enterprise aren’t managed well, they aren’t secure from outside threats. When a business isn’t fully secure from outside threats, it risks having all its intellectual property compromised, with its sensitive data leaked to entities that intend to use it for illegal purposes. Inadequate mobile device security poses one of the most significant business risks associated with unmanaged devices.
When an employee accesses company data over an unsecure network on an unmanaged device, the risk of it being leaked or lost increases exponentially. Oftentimes unmanaged file sharing across devices can lead to data leaks as well. Without controls on the apps used for accessing, sharing, and saving sensitive company data, that information can be easily accessed and shared by others outside of the organization. This can also lead to increased security threats.
Employees across an enterprise will also rely on their own mobile apps to complete work tasks and access company information and data. Unmanaged, risky apps are the weakest point of entry for cyber criminals, as users often download and use them without thinking about their security risks. Once a cybercriminal has one of their malicious apps downloaded onto an unmanaged device, they can steal business information, track the user, send malicious content, reconfigure a device to corrupt data, and more.
A business’s security is also at risk if a device that isn’t managed well across an enterprise is lost or stolen. It’s easy for criminals to tamper with devices they steal so they can access the device’s operating systems, gain elevated corporate network privileges, and install malicious apps from unauthorized app stores.
Brand Reputation and Trust
Cybercriminals aren’t just targeting personal information and specializing in identity theft anymore. They’re targeting enterprises and seeking out sensitive information and valuable business data about an enterprise’s infrastructure and operations. As mentioned above, when mobile devices are left unmanaged, an enterprise’s security is under threat and the likelihood a cyber-attack will take place is much greater.
Cyber-attacks put a business’s reputation at risk, especially businesses that handle financial information and highly sensitive personal data. When an enterprise’s security can be breached or isn’t effective due to unmanaged devices, customers will start to perceive the company as not properly prepared and not to be trusted with their information. Not only will customers be more hesitant to buy from companies that experience a cyber-attack, they’re also likely to go on to question the company’s products, services, and operational controls. Even employees will start to mistrust the organization they’re working for when there’s a cyber-attack, especially if it’s their personal information that’s compromised.
When a brand is no longer trusted by its customers or employees for even a short period of time, the bottom line feels the brunt of it. Although it may seem subjective and unimportant, damage to a business’s brand has a very real impact on its financial performance. For instance, one source claims that after Target revealed a breach that leaked information regarding as many as 110 million of their customers in 2013, its sales dropped 4 percent and its profit plummeted nearly 50 percent in the following quarter. The share price fell 46 percent and the CEO lost his job.
Overall, when a business leaves its devices unmanaged, it’s not just its security that’s at risk. It also risks compromised intellectual property, loss of valuable data, a jeopardized reputation with customers and employees, and a diminished bottom line.