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Mobile Security: Opportunities For MSPs

Mobile device security represents an emerging opportunity for MSPs. Organizations of all sizes are looking to improve security, while addressing user concerns regarding privacy and data protection.

The world of mobile technology can get a bit messy at times. Many of your customers are grappling with the complexities of mobile device management and security, whether those devices are company-provided or employee-supplied under a BYOD policy. In addition to the technical considerations, organizations often experience a cultural clash between employer needs and employee wants with respect to mobile devices.

Your customers, from enterprises to SMBs, are seeking answers in this challenging environment. As an MSP, you have an opportunity to address them. Indeed, the mobility business provides plenty of opportunities for an MSP. The scope of managed mobility services, according to Gartner, includes the acquisition, provision, and ongoing support of smartphones and tablets. 

The task of securing the mobile environment is another potential role for the MSP. Here’s a taste of what service providers targeting this market can expect:

  • Widespread Use of Mobile Devices

According to a Webroot-sponsored study, 41 percent of full-time or part-time employed U.S. adults use a personal or employer-issued smartphone or tablet for work purposes. such as checking email or accessing company information. Most survey respondents reported using a personal mobile device, with fewer citing work-issued devices.

  • Inconsistent Use of Security Apps

About a third of the respondents said they lack a security application or don’t know whether they have one installed on their device. Thirty-seven percent reported relying on the native security features of their smartphones or tablets, 19 percent said they installed and use their own security app, and 17 percent said they use a security app the company required.

  • A Patchwork of Security Measures

The majority of users (52 percent) in the Webroot study said they employ password protection as a security measure. Other top measures reported include secured Wi-Fi connections (39 percent), antivirus applications (39 percent), secure browser (30 percent) and the use of unlock patterns (27 percent).

  • Different Sets of Concerns

Nearly all the IT professionals surveyed in the Webroot study expressed at least some concern over security risks to corporate data and security breaches via mobile browsers. (Fifty-four percent said they were extremely or very concerned.) Users, however, have their own concerns with privacy and data protection. About half of the users surveyed said they would stop using their personal devices if employers required them to install a security app as a matter of policy. They pointed to such worries as the ability of the company to access personal data and the possibility that their personal data would be wiped upon leaving the company.

  • A Disconnect on Policy Influence

Nearly three-quarters of users strongly or somewhat agreed that employees should have some influence on a company’s mobile software and security policies. But 38 percent of the IT professionals Webroot surveyed said they rarely or never seek employee input on mobile security policies. About 14 percent of the respondents said they often seek such input.

A Place for MSPs

The mobile security landscape offers several niches for the enterprising MSP. For one, a service provider has an opportunity to assess a customer’s mobile security posture. With so much inconsistency in security approaches, MSPs are likely to find numerous areas for improvement. The survey results suggest organizations could benefit from greater standardization in both security applications and measures. The MSP is in a position to provide advice and recommend solutions.

From a consulting and change management perspective, the MSP can also help organizations navigate the sometimes conflicting agendas of IT managers and users. The service provider can help those parties reconcile the necessity of security and users’ desire for a consumer-like experience in the office.

Overall, MSPs can help clients establish the appropriate layers of mobile security without stifling employee productivity. Service providers who can address that balance could find themselves in a lucrative market.

Monthly guest blogs such as this one from Webroot are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.

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