By Charles Leaver

Small businesses increase focus on endpoint security

Employees have been increasingly leveraging mobile devices for boosted flexibility and productivity across every enterprise sector, including in the small business market. However, to ensure that endpoints are protected and sensitive company information is secured, these organizations must take a few precautions.

Boost in mobility spending
According to a recent study by AMI-Partners, overall spending on mobility-related technology in North America will increase 10 percent in the next five years, reaching $71.5 billion by 2019. Unified Communications Strategies stated that small businesses will represent the bulk of this mobile spending, accounting for eight of every ten dollars spent on these products and services.

AMI associate Andrew Kirk said North America will see a significant rise in mobile data plan consumption in the next five years. Data utilization on tablet plans alone will increase at a 21 percent compound annual growth rate in the U.S. and Canada.

“The smartphone market will experience a strong increase in related spending as a result of sustained repeat and replacement purchase,” Kirk told the source. “As tablet usage attains mainstream status, significantly stronger growth is expected with regard to SMB installed base, volume and associated spend.”

Higher risk of cyberattacks
However, as a rising number of small business employees use these devices for work purposes, they will create more security vulnerabilities. These threats are further compounded as many smaller organizations do not have formal endpoint security policies in place governing the use and safety of mobile devices.

Although some administrators may believe that their business is too small to be a target for attackers, Institute president Larry Ponemon told CIO that small business can’t afford to disregard security.

“Without it there’s more chance that new technology will face cyberattacks, which is likely to cost the business substantial amounts,” Ponemon said. “CIOs are under pressure to implement new technology that informs agile and efficient ways of working, but this should not take precedence over security.”

According to a Ponemon Institute survey, 58 percent of businesses of all sizes do not consider cyberattacks as a threat to their organization. However, small businesses alone have spent an average of $1.6 million responding to attacks.

For this reason, Ponemon advised that the industry recognize the potential risks that not taking a serious view of cybersecurity could create, and working to support programs to improve small business endpoint security.

Tips to bolster small business endpoint security
An impactful step that can be taken to improve the endpoint data protection within small businesses is the creation of a mobile device policy. These are formal practice guidelines that govern how employees use their devices, what activities they are allowed to engage in from their mobile endpoints and what protection should be in place. Security consultant Dave Glenn also advised that once a policy is created, employees should be educated and well versed in the plan’s rules and details.

In addition to the typical security that comes preloaded on most mobile devices, small businesses should also consider including endpoint data protection software in their security measures. Such technology, like that provided by Ziften, can allow for improved safety when it comes to use of mobile devices.

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