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Mobile device data protection and security increasingly important

Independent backup expert Brien Posey outlines the reasons why mobile data protection and security are increasingly important and whether organizations are on top of the issue today.

How important are data protection and security for mobile devices today? Is this still an overlooked area?

The importance of data protection and security for mobile devices has long been underestimated in IT shops. At one time, mobile device security and data protection were almost nonexistent. In the past, mobile devices weren't very powerful and there wasn't really an effective way of managing them. Because it was primarily high-level managers or tech-savvy employees who were using the mobile devices, IT tended to look the other way with regard to mobile device security and data protection.

Obviously, things are a lot different today. Mobile devices are much more powerful than they were in the past, and modern devices have a relatively large storage capacity. Furthermore, mobile devices have gone from being obscure novelties to becoming mainstream technologies. Many users own several mobile devices.

As far as whether or not security and data protection for mobile devices are overlooked today, the answer is that it varies from one organization to another. Larger organizations seem to be taking mobile devices very seriously. In these types of environments, mobile users are no longer given free reign of the network. Instead, mobile devices are managed by specialized software that enforces mobile device security. Even the Windows Server operating system is now mobile device-aware. Windows Server 2012 R2 makes it possible to connect a mobile device to a domain by way of the Workplace Join feature.

In spite of the progress that has been made surrounding mobile device security, there are still organizations that do not take mobile devices seriously. In some (primarily smaller) organizations the attitude seems to be that if other companies are allowing users to work from personal mobile devices then it must be okay. The underlying assumption is that the devices are secure by default and that there is no need to provide extra security. Thankfully, however, most organizations do seem to be taking mobile device security much more seriously than might have been the case a few years ago.

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This was first published in August 2014

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