Mobile Device Management (MDM) in the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) era can be a complex issue for companies to navigate. According to IDC[1], 328 million employee-owned smartphones will be on the job by 2017. That means every organization needs to carefully consider its own BYOD policies and the best ways to protect business-sensitive data.

Questions such as, “What happens if employee smartphones or tablets are lost or stolen?” or “What will become of the business data they contain?” are critical to consider, especially given the fact that according to an Ernst and Young research report[2], as many as half of mobile devices that are lost are never recovered.

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Reactions to this issue have caused many companies to take drastic measures when it comes to MDM, including the adoption of full-device remote wipe, where a company has the authority to completely wipe the contents of a smartphone or tablet clean after it’s been lost or stolen. But what if the content on the device is the only copy? Some consider this to be a very unnecessary and potentially time-consuming approach when considering lost data. Some even predict it could cause security backlash as employees consider delaying or even hiding the loss of smartphones from their employer to prevent complete data deletion of business and personal information.

The use of advanced, secure file-sharing solutions offers a much better way to assure data security for BYOD users and their employers. This approach allows companies to preserve complete control over the security of business content, while employees have confidence in knowing that their personal information isn’t in jeopardy should a breach or loss occur.

When using the right secure file sync-and-sharing solutions to access business data on mobile devices, companies and employees will additionally see the following benefits:

– Remote Wipe of Business Files Only – Content stored using a mobile device that uses a secure file-sharing solution is automatically protected in a central system. If the device is lost or stolen, the administrator can create a policy that will automatically wipe all business data that was synced to the device only. This means personal information on the device will still be preserved.

– Full Control Across All Devices: from Mobile to Laptop and Desktop – Secure file-sharing solutions also take control a step further to provide security of business information on all devices including laptops and desktops, as well as smartphones and tablets. Knowing that these other forms of technology are at equal risk of being lost or stolen, this added security layer can provide exceptional peace of mind for business data, no matter where or how it’s being accessed. This is also useful for organizations with a remote workforce or external contractors. In the event of their dismissal, business information can be securely removed from all devices and systems to prevent misuse or malice.

– Simplified Recovery from the Cloud – If a device is lost data can also be easily recovered from another device. Content can still be instantly accessed, preventing costly downtime and lost productivity.

– Secure File Sharing without Forced MDM Agent Adoption – Many MDM solutions force the installation of third-party agents on employee devices. Even worse, if a user needs to share content with an external party, they too are forced to install an MDM agent or other service on their device before they can access the content. Advanced file sharing solutions don’t require these restrictions. Users can share files securely with anyone without forcing them to install anything, and those files can still be securely controlled and disabled if needed.

[1] IDC, Worldwide Business Use Smartphone 2013-2017 Forecast Update

[2] EY, Bring Your Own Device – Security and Risk Considerations for your Mobile Device Program, September 2013

By Sam Liu, Vice President of Marketing, Soonr

Sam LiuBio: Sam Liu is the vice president of marketing for Soonr and an expert in mobile, cloud and enterprise technologies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an MBA.

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