One of the most important trends to impact organizations of all sizes – but particularly mid-sized and large organizations – is for employees to use their own smartphones and tablets to access corporate applications. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend was started several years ago, normally on a case-by-case basis for senior executives who had personal devices that they wanted supported by IT.

Today, BYOD has become widespread and is now a critical issue for IT departments in organizations of all sizes not only because of the number and diversity of devices they must support, but also because of the risks that BYOD creates:

• The difficulty of satisfying the growing number of regulatory and legal obligations imposed on organizations regardless of the industry.

• Managing the mix of corporate and personal data contained on personally owned devices.

• Addressing the greater risk imposed by BYOD, such as compliance violations and data breaches when devices are lost, policy violations when outbound content is not filtered, and the greater likelihood of malware entering the corporate
network.

As a result, organizations must mitigate the risk associated with the growing trend toward BYOD by implementing appropriate policies and deploying technologies that address the specific problems created by BYOD.

Although enabling BYOD and implementing appropriate policies are important, it is essential that organizations also deploy the appropriate technologies that will enable IT departments to monitor the use of mobile devices when used for work-related purposes and to archive the content stored on them. Any technology employed for text message monitoring, archiving or otherwise managing the use of mobile devices should satisfy a number of criteria:

• It should enable the use of personally owned mobile devices with as little interruption to the normal operation of these devices as possible. Solutions must be designed for the platforms that users employ most often, namely Android,
BlackBerry and iPhone devices.

• It should enable IT departments to archive and monitor all relevant content for purposes of regulatory compliance, legal obligations and other purposes. This should include email, text messages, instant messages and other content. It is important to the note that the iPhone is somewhat more difficult to monitor because of Apple’s primary focus on the consumer.

• It should enable the search and retrieval of content on mobile devices easily.

• Organizations should consider using a mobile device management system in order to manage applications and wipe or lock devices that are lost or stolen.

• It should enable the information on the mobile devices to be encrypted.

• It should not impose a significant cost for IT and should impose only a minimal requirement on IT’s management requirements.

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