The construction industry has a mobile problem, but it’s not that there are too many or too few mobile devices or applications. The number of cloud, on-premise, company-owned, or employee-owned devices being brought to work continues to rise and challenge the increasingly permeable boundaries around where a company’s data lives.
According to the 2016 JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report, “Every app, e-mail, and message is a window to a cyber threat – even if employees are ‘only checking e-mail,’ they are opening up company networks to severe vulnerabilities.”
That means contractors are taking on significant risks from the technology already around them. It also means that if your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is simply “yes” or “no,” it’s as if you’re posting a sign outside of your house that says, “Please stay out,” but leaving all of your windows open.
Since the rise of jobsite productivity applications almost a decade ago, contractors have been trying to balance leveraging the technology that people already carry in their pockets with mitigating the associated risks. In the meantime, mobile technology has continued to proliferate, and increased connectivity of workspaces has created greater exposure for businesses.
While the use of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearables on the jobsite and in the office is steadily increasing, the policies and procedures surrounding their use have not kept pace. From 2014 to 2016, the share of construction professionals whose companies allow personal devices but don’t secure them actually appeared to increase.1 A recent industry report suggests that while 77% of companies have an overall cybersecurity strategy, only 54% have a mobile security policy in place, with roughly as many providing mobile devices.2
Contractors must adopt and adapt security policies that incorporate the full scope of mobile computing, from smartphones and desktops to servers that house company data. One such method that can help mitigate these risks is an enterprise mobility management (EMM) strategy.
Identify Risks & Vulnerabilities
The risks of BYOD strategies are well-known:
- The inability to control or see data as it’s stored and transmitted;
- The physical loss of a device;
- The potential for the device to be rooted or jailbroken;
- Intermixing personal and enterprise applications and information; and
- Devices that lack proper security protections.