MDM taking a hit in BYOD security for small businesses

MDM taking a hit in BYOD security for small businesses

Over half of respondents polled in the latest survey admitted that they had no plans to implement mobile device management (MDM) technology.

That’s the big takeaway from a Spiceworks survey covering 1000 small to medium business IT pros from its ‘Voice of IT’ panel.  Of that number, 61% said they had a BYOD policy in place, yet 56% they had no plans to implement MDM within six months.

Roughly one in five (17%) had MDM in place, with a similar number (20%) expecting to put it in place by the close of this year.

Yet of those which do not support MDM, the reason for non-adoption is interesting: companies do not see a “true threat” which is scary enough to force them to invest.

There’s two ways of interpreting that statistic: depending on which side of the fence you sit, you’ll either see that as companies being wise not to dive in and spend precious budget, or a case of companies being reactive instead of proactive about security.

Elsewhere, survey respondents saw the biggest security threats are lost or stolen devices (47%), or devices being misused by employees (37%).

Here, the research doesn’t go into greater detail over what ‘misuse’ is – whether it’s accidental, or misadventure through more malicious means. But can the most stringent device management policies failsafe sheer human error?

The report, as is common, examined the most popular devices for BYOD.

Smartphones were the most popular BYOD-friendly device, unsurprisingly: of the 61% overall who supported personal device policy, 54% cited smartphones, compared to tablets (42%) and computers (25%).

In terms of OS, the results were interesting; looking away from the top of the table, BlackBerry was winning the third place battle for smartphones, but trailing behind Windows Phone for tablets.

Windows Phones 8 and 7 contributed to 34% and 26% of the tablet market share respectively according to the respondents, with BlackBerry registering a score of 15%.

Another interesting statistic from the report was that nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents said that BYOD was a “headache” for their department. BYOD is certainly a challenge for IT, as Trend Micro recently pointed out in an infographic subtitled “bring your own risk”, however 17% noted they “fully embrace this trend since this is the future”.

The report concludes that small businesses need to dig deeper in order to justify spend.

“The data gathered indicates that SMBs need to be further educated on the implications of mobile device adoption and should seek additional information from MDM vendors, as well as mobile device manufacturers, to fully appreciate what mobile devices mean to the typical network, what the management burdens are, what the security implications are, and what the devices ultimately mean to productivity,” the report notes.

“At the end of the day, BYOD is becoming an unstoppable force,” Spiceworks concludes. “SMBs have some tough decisions to make on how to handle this new tech frontier.”

It’s certainly worth noting that the MDM space is an intriguing one, with plenty of questions needing to be asked: should companies go for mobile app management (MAM) as opposed to MDM? And if that’s the case, should companies bring their own app (BYOA) as opposed to BYOD? What do you think?

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