Tag Archives: mobile security

SMBs and Mobile Security: 5 Ways to Keep Your Company Safe

Mobile SecurityIt’s more the rule than the exception these days that mobile devices are employees’ preferred computing endpoints. The ubiquity of mobile devices, combined with near 24/7 use, can provide a big boost in employee productivity, but it also increases the risk of data compromise exponentially. SMBs, which often work with a mix of in-house and freelance professionals and may have fewer security and IT resources than larger companies, are especially vulnerable. However, there are steps that companies can take to mitigate risk while exploiting mobile technology.

A recent Forrester survey shows that some 43% of small-business owners say they’re prioritizing data mobility. Indeed, sensitive company information is increasingly being accessed and stored on mobile devices–some corporate-owned, some personal–which increases the risk of compromise.

Companies have to take precautions to make sure that data is protected, but they don’t have to panic: Here are five crucial steps organizations must take to keep data, employees and customers safe, even in the ever-changing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environment.

  1. Analyze: Root out potential pain points that may arise from the use of personal devices for business purposes. For example, is there information that simply should not be accessed and/or stored on a mobile device? Are there categories of users who absolutely must have mobile access to certain applications and data? Will that access warrant increased security measures?
  2. Engage: Survey the types of mobile systems used by your employees now, and keep an eye on device, mobile operating system and app news–you want to anticipate what mobile hardware and software employees will be using in the future, as well.
  3. Set policies: Policy is key: You must explicitly inform users about what they can and can’t do, and get them to sign off on these rules. Policy should determine, among other things, what devices will and will not be supported. When it comes to who gets access to your network, set parameters based on employee/contractor role and location. Also, your team members invite greater risk every time they connect to unsecured wireless networks, download and install unapproved apps, visit possibly malicious websites, and/or leave their mobile device unattended. Your policies should cover these activities, as well,
  4. Plan ahead: Map out the procedures to be taken when devices are lost, stolen or damaged. Encourage reporting and honesty.
  5. Implement monitoring and defense: Research vendors and decide what kind of IT technology and assistance makes sense for your business. Spending money on technology like internal app scanning and external monitoring can save you the expense of financial damage and ruined reputation by finding evidence of spam and malware activity before it becomes a public disaster.

You can’t stop every criminal out there or prevent every end user from doing careless things. However, with some thought and planning, you can keep your small business — and its staff, customers and partners — safe while providing them with all of the opportunity that mobile technology affords. A little work now saves a lot of grief later, so spend some time on your mobile data security plan.

 

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Mobile Security and the SMB: Emerging Strategies and Tools

Mobile Security and the SMBAccording to global research firm Forrester, 350 million employees will use smartphones by 2016, with 200 million choosing to bring their own device to work. That’s a lot of points of pressure when it comes to mobile security in the realm of corporate data.

Professional users are demanding the same kind of end-user experiences in business as they enjoy in their personal lives. To respond to these requests, many businesses have adopted bring-your-own-device policies. For chief information officers, the imperative is to isolate simple, safe and secure multipurpose mobile solutions. How to keep all this information flowing, but protected from being hacked?

Let’s turn to to some of the experts in making BYOD work, security-wise, and to one company that’s deploying mobile with a mind to make it free of compromises.

Logging: The Employee/Employer Equation

According to a report recently published by CIO, while a whopping 88 percent of employees believe their device is very or somewhat secure, 77 percent of IT managers see the risk of malware spreading to the corporate network from mobile devices. Level of risk: moderate to very high.

One responses is what’s come to be known as logging. Companies simply record what employees are doing on the internal network. But there’s a potential complication for staff members: they may not realize that they’re being watched.

Study-conductor Blue Coat found that even though only 19% of corporate employees would knowingly allow their company to monitor their personal devices as they interact with the in-house network, some 41% of the corporations examined were already doing so.

“And the regulations have come down pretty clear on this,” Timothy Chiu, Blue Coat’s director of product marketing, told the publication. “The corporate network is a corporate-owned resource and companies are allowed to log what they want.”

The Third Party App: Minimizing Risks with Employee Buy-In

Another idea in the arena of locking down personal mobile security on the corporate network is to implement third-party data sharing apps.

Eric Hart is the network/infrastructure manager at PING, the golf equipment brand.

“Mobile devices are important for how we share information,” Hart said. PING uses a third-party data-sharing company to manage their employees BYOD on the IT side.

“Teams at PING use . . .  smartphones, tablets and traditional computers to collaborate with our partners, clients and vendors for a more consistent and secure experience,” Hart said.

The bottom line in Hart’s environment is that the company wants to open up the employee-end options by having the whole team get onboard with a common-thread application. The goal is to reduce the obstacles and effort it takes to share information, but to also keep the walls from crumbling when it comes to protecting what’s proprietary at PING.

And so, the BYOD moment is upon us. Making companies productive without compromise: the realities are still coming into focus for both workers and their employers, but the tools and strategies are emerging that may afford collaboration and security a better future fit.

 

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