There are many benefits of deploying a remote workforce, but companies can reap bigger benefits with minimal security risks by following a few simple steps, according to Stephanie Burnham, general manager of managed mobility for Sprint Business Solutions.
The actual savings of having a remote workforce differs from company to company, so the results need to be measured on a case-by-case basis to quantify the actual benefits.
But by putting workers on a single wireless device rather than having them carry a cell phone in one hand and a pager in the other, a company can save nearly $100 per month per employee. This can add up to an annual savings of more than $2 million for a company with 2,000 employees, according to Burnham. A company can also realize a 13 percent to 39 percent increase in sales revenue by implementing a sales force management tool and see a decrease of $30 million in annual workforce travel by accurately and securely rerouting remote communications to the proper back-end systems. Using a single type of device also helps security management, because security protection, upgrades, etc., can be streamlined for one type of device rather than for several.
With the increase of remote workers and the pressure to increase productivity and reduce costs in an environment of ever-increasing security risks, "enterprises must evaluate security and mobility deployments as integrated initiatives, with interdependences that extend from existing LAN environments to the very end point," Burnham said. "The only way to successfully secure your enterprise requires end-to-end controls implemented with both policy and technology solutions with methods for effective enforcement."
Policies need to cover all aspects of security, Burnham said. Other experts have expressed this sentiment when addressing security issues for mobile devices. The concern over mobile device security continues to grow as the devices become more popular and more connected to sensitive corporate information systems.
Vulnerable Wireless Devices
Several published reports point to the vulnerability of wireless devices, Burnham said. The Computer security Institute reported that in 2004 a little more than one-third of all network attacks came from "an indeterminate location." Thirty-five percent of executives are unaware of their companies'wireless usage.
Once the potential implications of Sarbanes-Oxley; HIPAA; and other monitoring, security, and privacy-related laws are considered, failing to include wireless as part of a company's security policy could cost companies money, Burnham added.
Gartner, Inc. predicted that mobile devices will become the No. 1 management struggle for more than three-quarters of all companies by the end of 2006. …