It’s almost impossible to overestimate the effect mobile devices have had on the way we work and do business. Step into any airport lounge, rush hour train or coffee shop these days and you’ll see people tapping away on their phones, tablets or laptops doing everything from checking mail to collaborating on presentations to participating in conference calls. According to a recent study in the US, more than two thirds of workers use mobile and wireless computing in the course of their work – and most would agree it offers a whole range of possibilities.
Are your mobile devices the weakest point in your network?
As any superhero could tell you, with great power comes great responsibility. And because they rely on wireless connections to networks outside your company’s control, mobile devices can be a serious weak spot in your security policy. After all, an intercepted wireless signal or compromised device could have serious consequences, ranging from embarrassment to leaked business intelligence… and even prosecution under data protection laws.
So how can you allow users to enjoy the increased mobility, productivity and freedom that come from the wireless revolution without compromising your network security? Here are a few steps you can take to stop a stolen laptop, tablet or phone from becoming an open window into your company’s network.
Ten tips for mobile peace of mind:
1. CREATE a mobile device security policy.
2. SPREAD the word across your organization. Make sure everyone knows the security implications of mobile working, and the importance of following the protocol.
3. TRAIN your people in best practice. Focus on real life situations and make sure everyone knows what they can and can’t do with company data, how to access it securely, and how to recognize and deal with suspicious activity.
4. IMPOSE security settings on the workforce. Do not rely on users setting their own security: even with the best intentions, they can get it wrong.
5. ENSURE enforceable mandatory access to all devices, so your IT team can always act if a device is compromised. Ensure users are not able to override your access rights.
6. SET standards for central, controlled synchronization, so important data is backed up automatically and only approved applications are used. This is difficult to control with smartphones, especially BYOD devices.
7. DECIDE whether your employees are able to ‘Bring Your Own Device’. Though issuing company equipment offers maximum control, a ‘BYOD’ policy is cheaper to implement. And with careful management, it is an increasingly attractive option for company and employee alike.
8. CONSIDER automatic and user-transparent encryption on all data on every mobile device and removable medium. Think of every separate piece of equipment as a self-contained unit that could hold sensitive data, and protect it accordingly.
9. TRACK and label every device – and take a regular inventory.
10. DEPLOY mobile anti-virus solutions – and ensure they are compatible with the other solutions you use, so infected devices cannot harm your network.
It’s worth investing the time and resources in creating a safe and flexible mobile work environment within your company. It means your colleagues can reap the benefits of being able to perform effectively outside the office environment… and it means you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from a secure network.
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