Man So you are a small business owner or employee and you and your fellow staff members are always keen to get your hands on the latest technologies to help as you go about your daily routine. We’re not talking about robots here; we simply talking about increasingly powerful smartphones, tablet PCs and portable laptop computers too.

Such is the sophistication of mobile “devices” now that they mirror their desktop equivalents in almost every sense. It’s not just Internet-connected portable laptops either, smartphones today are packed with an immense amount of storage and computing power compared to their position even just five years ago.

Does lots of power pose possible threats?

So what does this mean? Put simply, it means that your employees’ mobile devices are as much a part of the your IT resources as the server or database that you keep your client records on. This in itself means that the apps and files on employees’ devices now start to form a solid element of business risk.

Recent survey work carried out by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of AVG found that fifty-five percent of consumers are aware that they may be putting their employers’ confidential business information at risk when using their smartphone for both business and personal use. Ponemon also found that 52 percent of those who are aware of the risk say that it has happened. However, only 40 percent are very concerned or concerned.

The problem here is that not only can these devices be easily lost or mislaid, but that there is a whole raft of malicious web-based content out there specifically designed to attack mobile computing users.

This is not plug-and-play computing

Yes mobile devices can significantly boost employee productivity when used conscientiously, but small business owners need to realise that this is not plug-and-play computing.

A considered approach to who is using what kind of equipment and what “apps” they are using on it is needed; if that is, the device in question is also going to be used for business-related work functions.

The vulnerability of mobile devices used in business is a very real threat. Laptops can be hacked over shared Wi-Fi networks in public places and smartphones can be subject to ‘jailbreaking’, where the unit’s security settings are disabled by a cyber-criminal seeking a host to embed spyware and/or malware on to.

AVG works in this space by providing customers in the UK who purchase an AVG Internet Security Business Edition 2011 license with a free copy of AVG Home Security as well as a free license for AVG’s Mobilation security software. Mobilation is a security app for Android smartphones and tablet computers, built to ensure that your company stays safe on the move while connected to insecure Wi-Fi.

As AVG now details the types of threats likely to affect mobile devices, we will also seek to inform and instruct our small to medium sized business audience on the formation of simple IT policies to help safeguard their business.