By Jonathan Dale, director of Fiberlink

As regulatory pressures mount and working environments become increasingly mobile, Jonathan Dale, director of Fiberlink, explores the security challenges facing financial firms looking to adopt BYOD.

In today’s highly complex regulatory environment, no company working in financial services can afford to relax when it comes to IT security. Post the sub-prime mortgage collapse of 2008, banks, investment firms, and insurance providers have all come under sustained pressure to protect sensitive customer and company data. A raft of regulations have been introduced post the crash, including Basel III, which has strict guidelines and stiff payment penalties for organisations that refuse to comply.

At the same time, organisations have to adopt mobile technology to compete. A recent report by analyst house Gartner predicts that by 2014, 90 per cent of companies will support corporate applications on personal mobile devices, and 80 per cent will have a mobile workforce equipped with tablets.

The financial industry is no stranger to this trend. Employees in banks, just like every industry, have been bitten by the bring your own device (BYOD) bug. Helping sales people access information, or helping executives view business documents while working away from office, are just two examples of how financial firms are already benefiting from the BYOD experience. But as the variety of device types holding personal and company information increases, the industry is having to tackle a number of issues to enable employees to work remotely, while ensuring adherence to all regulatory measures.

For example, IT departments in banks are faced with the conundrum of having to manage personal and professional data and applications sitting on the same device. Under no circumstances can an organisation allow enterprise data or applications to remain on a device after an employee leaves a company, but it’s just as important to leave personal data intact.

Another significant challenge is that devices from different manufacturers have different operating systems and different built-in features. Configuration and security are two major aspects of enforcing corporate policy, but the variety of components and features makes configuring and securing a wide array of handsets very challenging.

This is why, IT departments within financial firms are looking towards device management solutions to help them manage all aspects of mobility. This includes preventing employees from forwarding sensitive documents from their own devices, such as financial reports, and ensuring compliance to industry regulations through detailed reporting and automated processes.

Moving forward, for the financial sector, success comes down to selecting the right mobility management platform for their specific regulatory challenges. The companies who make the wrong choice can only go as fast as their device management solution allows them to go. On the other hand, those who choose wisely no longer have to perform the most tedious tasks and are freed to focus on their core business. They are the companies who will adapt to the BYOD environment securely and win in their respective markets.

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