Man A subtle yet powerful change has been quietly pervading our business usage of technology and influencing the way companies of all sizes are managing their IT equipment. A trend dubbed by analysts as the “consumerisation of IT” has seen users starting to bring their own mobile ‘gadgets’ into work and use them for business purposes.

One of the major influencing factors in this area has been the launch and meteoric rise in popularity of the tablet PC. The use of iPads, BlackBerry PlayBooks and all manner of Android-powered mobile devices has taken the comparatively slower moving business IT world off guard in some senses.

Firms of every size may well not have a usage policy governing the when, where and what of how employees should be able to use tablets and smartphones. Yet with their wireless connectivity synced-up with the company WiFi connection, workers are bringing these devices into the workplace without an additional layer of security control being in place to lock down their impact.

 

BYOD Bring Your Own Device

Sometimes referred to as the BYOD Bring Your Own Device phenomenon, tablet PCs and smartphones are now helping to populate small to medium sized business IT departments at what is often an unchecked pace. We now need to question whether consumer/workers are now replacing the IT manager (or simply the manager or boss) as the true IT decision makers.

If we consider tablet PCs and high-end smartphones in the same breath (they come in at similar price points after all), then recent research by the Ponemon Institute has some telling indicators for the way we are managing IT. Ponemon found that less than half (43 percent) of consumers surveyed consider security features to be important when deciding which smartphone to purchase.

It is not surprising then perhaps that these same users are not taking security precautions. Fifty-one percent of consumers surveyed have neither keypad locks nor passwords on their smartphone. Only nineteen percent do have passwords and a meager 10 percent have both keypad locks and passwords.

 

The business IT security equation

So where does all this leave us? Essentially we have a new variable in the “business IT security equation” if we can use that analogy. Being able to quantify and qualify this variable is the only way we can predict the outcome of the equation and calculate our risk levels in the face of virus-born attacks and malware of all kinds.

With a limitless universe of unknowns to cater for in our equation-based business risk measurement, our only solution is to provide anti-virus protection such as AVG’s Mobilation security app to automate the computation in hand and give us a predictable end result.

AVG Mobilation started off life as a free Anti-Virus product for smartphones, but has now been extended to provide support designed specifically for Android tablets. This cloud-based technology is simple to use, always up to date, and light on device resources and battery life. If we work smart and use technologies like this, then we can keep even then newest and most unpredictable variables in check.