This week the mobile enterprise focuses on security, from downloading applications and iPad integration, we offer you some sage advice.
The Dos and Don'ts of Mobile Security
Bill Brenner of ComputerWorld recently offered up a few “dos and don’ts” for mobile phone security gathered from experts within the industry.
Among their advice, encryption is key, as are security policies that outline acceptable use for mobile devices, as well as having an informed understanding about how products integrate (or don’t) with a company’s current infrastructure.
The experts also urge companies to avoid installing more than one security clients on mobile devices; giving smartphones to senior management only – all employees can benefit and makes set up easier. It’s also recommended that companies not block all third-party applications. Instead, have a process for outlining procedures and policies for what gets blocked and why.
Overall, research is key. Before you venture into unchartered territory, it’s always best to gain an understanding of what is needed, how it will be implemented and a guidelines to follow along the way. It’s advice that is critical for all types of integration, from eDiscovery to mobile technologies.
Downloading Apps at Your Own Risk
Another concern among mobile security experts is that with the popularity of smartphone apps, from Droid, to Blackberry to the iPhone, efforts to keep out malicious software may not be keeping up. With so many apps on the market, understanding how each of them work and how is not always possible and therefore some dangerous apps may get through before they are investigated fully.
Usually app stores rely on feedback from users, but with many companies downloading apps designed to help streamline their workflow, they could be at risk for apps that are apt to target them and any sensitive information found along the way.
What can companies do to help protect themselves? Other than monitor your security controls, research apps before downloading and if your company operates in an industry that adheres to strict compliance and regulatory standards, consult with security experts. The financial services industry already says that it is working with app-store operators to ensure mobile-banking apps are authentic.
Bringing the iPad into the Enterprise
The iPad is creeping its ways into the enterprise. It’s always been popular with gadget-loving consumers and educational institutions have sought to implement into their curriculum, but companies, until now have largely remained quiet.
Some of those gadget-loving consumers are C-level executives who are trying to get their IT departments to supply the same security controls to their iPads. Of course, it wasn’t too long ago when the same requests were being made for iPhones and other mobile devices, which are commonplace among most companies.
Though securing these new table devices shouldn’t pose a problem for most, it has some questions the viability and need for iPads in the enterprise. For mobile workers, they provide a smaller, yet more functional platform from which to get work done. They are more compact than netbooks and easier to travel with. But for others, it seems like one more platform with which to interface and support.
As well, for companies governed by strict standards, like health and finance industries, iPads carry the risk of disclosing sensitive and confidential information, that can’t be hidden as easily.
Yet, as these devices and the security controls they are employ, evolve, it’s likely that these concerns will seem outdated soon enough. In the meantime, tell us how your company has integrated the iPad.