How SharePoint can boost mobile security

19 December 2013

The mobile device is becoming the weapon of choice for modern professionals. Regardless of the industry, there is some useful way in which smartphones and tablets can simplify operations to enhance productivity. For this reason, many companies have shifted operations to the mobile sphere, even if some executives have dragged their feet on the issue. 

The reason some businesses are reluctant to embrace the mobile movement is because employee-owned smartphones and tablets are difficult to regulate, often opening organizations up to security risks. In fact, CRN cited a report from the Ponemon Institute that found nearly three quarters of IT security leaders say mobile threats are their biggest concern when it comes to network security in 2014. That mark was at just 9 percent as recently as 2010, and provides an indication of how the threat landscape – and the adoption of mobile devices – is increasing. 

"According to these knowledgeable respondents, endpoint security risk is more difficult to manage than ever," said Larry Ponemon, founder of the Ponemon Institute, according to the source. "The reason is the growing number of employees and other insiders using multiple mobile devices in the workplace, followed by the increase in personal devices connected to the network and the growing popularity of public cloud services such as Dropbox."

Deploy enterprise-grade programs 
The last part of what Ponemon said is particularly important for IT leaders to note. By using consumer-grade applications such as Dropbox. employees are not able to encrypt or protect devices as easily as when they use enterprise-sponsored software. Many professionals are tempted to use these applications simply because they have no collaborative alternative. This is where SharePoint can help IT managers beef up security. 

Microsoft's most recent version of the collaborative software – SharePoint 2013 – includes a number of new mobile features that make it easier for employees to consult and work on the same documents straight from their smartphones. With these tools at their disposal, workers will be less tempted to use unprotected apps such as Dropbox. For this reason, investing in SharePoint training for business and IT staff is a smart move for executives to make. 

The mobile landscape is only growing, making the need for better mobile software even more essential. According to Computerworld, data from StatCounter found that the share of Internet traffic generated from mobile devices recently surpassed 20 percent for the first time ever. As that number increases, so will the need for SharePoint and similar programs. 

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