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Mobile apps pose possible security threat to businesses

With BYOD policies becoming more common, businesses must ensure that their disaster recovery plans account for employees' use of mobile devices.
With BYOD policies becoming more common, businesses must ensure that their disaster recovery plans account for employees' use of mobile devices.

With mobile devices becoming a common workplace accessory, it is crucial for businesses to ensure that their disaster recovery planning accounts for employees' use of smartphones, laptops and tablets. Information security is becoming more difficult as it becomes easier for individuals to share data with one another.

John Oberon, information technology chief for Mashery, an organization that helps other companies build apps, told The New York Times that there's only so much that can be done to stop people from forwarding an email or storing a document off of a phone.

Even larger companies have found that mobile devices could cause problems for their daily operations. For example, Netflix found employees using 496 smartphone apps, primarily for data storage, communications and collaboration.

"People are going to bring their own devices, their own data, their own software applications, even their own work groups," drawing off friends and contractors at other companies, Bill Burns, the director of information technology infrastructure at Netflix, told The Times. "If you try and implant software that limits an employee's capabilities, you're adding a layer of complexity."

Recovering from data breaches can be costly on more than one level. In addition to the financial costs of working to rebuild a system, there are ramifications that will follow dealing with customers' trust. Just two months ago, Florida's Juvenile Justice Department announced that that 114,538 youth and employee records had disappeared when a mobile storage device with no password was stolen.

Additionally, last September, a Rite Aid customer notified an employee that he could obtain other customers' names, addresses and prescription records from the company's mobile app.

All of these examples are just further proof of why companies of all sizes must  have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place. As bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies become more common, employees must be trained properly on how to use smartphones and tablets without compromising company information.