Recent years have seen the rise of an unprecedented phenomenon in the world of organizational IT - employees are choosing to use their own devices for work purposes.
With the growing popularity of mobile, connected devices, such as tablet computers, netbooks and smartphones, workers are beginning to look to these products for greater work flexibility and mobility.
As this happens, many employees are using their own personal devices to access their companies' networks. With the increased deployment of cloud computing and telework solutions, portable devices enable workers to access a greater portion of their data and applications from any location.
However, an important question has to be asked about the use of personal devices in a work context - is it secure?
In a recent InformationWeek report, technology consultant Grant Moerschel claimed employers have much to gain by enabling workers to use their own devices.
"The business possibilities for these myriad and varied platforms are exciting, especially for small companies looking to increase productivity and deliver customer service on par with larger competitors," Moerschel wrote.
Nevertheless, before simply allowing employees to use their own devices on enterprise networks, companies should ensure they are taking the necessary data security precautions, according to Moerschel.
"Yes, it's a nice budgetary upside that employees are using their own hardware and data plans for work," he stated. "But, before saying yes, consider all possible downsides - particularly if your business is a custodian of sensitive customer data. And really, whose isn't nowadays?"
A variety of factors should be considered when implementing cloud computing security solutions to enable the use of employees' devices, according to Moerschel. These include the risk of a device being lost, or of data being downloaded to a smartphone and stolen.
By considering these factors in advance, businesses can protect their information while incorporating significant benefits by introducing personal devices into the workplace.
While cloud computing is what makes mobile connectivity so powerful, it can also be used for security purposes itself. In a recent IT Business Edge report, IT analyst Mark Vizard suggested that the cloud offers several important opportunities to correct old IT security mistakes.