Securing the corporate environment
The hidden dangers
Smartphones and mobile devices of all varieties are spreading across all businesses – it’s hard to resist both the affordability and the flexibility…but what are the security concerns that need to be addressed?
According to Gartner, smartphone sales to end users accounted for 19% of worldwide mobile device sales in the second quarter of 2010 and totalled 61.6 million units, a staggering 50.5% year-on-year increase. And not only are the numbers of smartphones growing, their versatility is increasing.
However, the widescale adoption raises some key security issues which many organisations may not have fully thought through or, if they have, they may not have taken appropriate measures to ensure network safety. The biggest danger, of course, is that they go missing. Smartphones are often used for both business and personal reasons and if they are lost, both sensitive company data and personal data stored on the phone may be exposed.
If the phone is connected via a VPN, company networks are exposed to malware or could be hacked. Users must remember that they are essentially carrying around a tiny laptop with a wealth of personal information that is very attractive to the petty thief and fraudsters. Targeting smartphones could potentially be more profitable for criminals than aiming at computers.
So here are a few security top tips…
There are a number of basic security procedures which organisations and individuals can take to increase security:
- Use the PIN or passcode function to secure the phone.
- Install data wiping facilities so critical information can be destroyed if the device is compromised.
- Employ time out policies.
- Install GPS tracking so the phone can be located if stolen.
- Install SIM watch – reporting the new number back to you if the SIM is removed and replaced.
- Take similar data leakage protection measures as with a PC.
Smartphones are incredible tools and their use looks set to proliferate. However, their security is lagging behind their growth… Beware…
NCC head of publishing & content
National Computing Centre
Download the whole issue as a PDF: ITadviser, Issue 67, Autumn 2011
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