Pokémon Go or Pokémon No? 7 Questions Your IT Team Needs to Ask

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This blog post was co-written by Joanna Robinson, Regional VP, West Coast Operations at Burwood Group, Jared Jerotz, Account Executive, at Burwood Group, and Doug Cacioppo, Account Executive at Burwood Group.

In the last week did your company add 15 million global customers?  Did you increase your market valuation by $14 billion and add $1.6 million in daily revenue?

These impressive stats may not be reason to celebrate at your organization, but there’s no doubt your employees had something to do with them. In a two week time period, Pokémon Go has achieved the fastest adoption rate for a mobile game in history. A recent poll shows that over a third of workforces, internally and external, are looking for Pokémon for over an hour during their workday.

Released two weeks ago, Pokémon Go is on pace to surpass 20 million users in the next few days. So why do we care, as IT professionals? It’s only a game, right? Not exactly. Pokémon GOis one example in a new gaming sector known as ‘Augmented Reality Games.’ These fun distractions for the individual worker can pose significant risks to corporate security and productivity.

A recent eWeek article stated, “The game has a huge potential as a cyber-security risk, malware vector, safety hazard, on-the-job time-waster for your employees and a waste of your company’s computing resources. Worse, the game may become a gateway into your company’s data stores and it can introduce malware that spreads within your network.”

If your technology team hasn’t evaluated the risks that mobiles applications and games such as Pokémon GO pose to your organization, there’s no time like the present to consider your current posture and develop a strategy for defense. Start evaluating the risks and your response by asking yourself these seven questions:

  1. Do you have an existing strategy for protecting against vulnerabilities that arise from a mobile workforce?
  2. Have you included language for gaming application usage in your corporate polices? Is the policy being enforced?
  3. An estimated one-third of your employees are playing Pokémon Go during working hours for at least 33 minutes per day. How much is that costing you in lost productivity?
  4. How will your legal department defend your company due to a Pokémon Go accident in a company facility or vehicle?
  5. Pokémon Go game enables camera access in the user’s phone to catch Pokémon Gocharacters. Are your employees unintentionally capturing and exposing private or classified information when taking photo or video inside a secure building?
  6. Do you have a tool and system in place to shut down unwanted apps from being downloaded to your corporate devices?
  7. Corporate devices use corporate data plans. How will you track and mitigate increased employee data usage?

Every business that allows the use of mobile devices by their employees, especially through company owned devices, must have a plan in place to mitigate the damages that may arise from these applications. If you aren’t proactively managing your mobile clients today, you need to consider the risk and liability associated with the use of games like Pokémon Go. A social phenomenon should not become your company’s worst nightmare.

Mobile Device Management needs to be a key part of any successful business strategy. Learn how to successfully implement the infrastructure that gives you back the control needed over your organization’s mobile devices, ensuring that they don’t become an entryway for intruders or an exit door for your data. At Burwood Group we specialize in mobile security and would enjoy sharing our point of view about the options available to ensure your workforce productivity, protect confidential business information, and secure the integrity of your systems in this new era of computing. Let us know how we can help you.

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September 18, 2017