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How Secure is Your Mobile Worker?

August 22, 2013 at 6:00 am PST

How well do you know your mobile worker? Understanding the mobile worker’s perceptions and behaviors will offer a better view on the potential security implications your organization must manage. Cisco recently released a new global infographic and white paper, the Cisco Connected World International Mobile Security study. They explore the mobile worker’s view points concerning working remotely, connecting to corporate, and their sense of security. Some of the findings are worth reflecting on to help you set the course for your mobile security efforts.

There is no question that the movement to mobile personal devices in the workforce has been well recognized. A recent response to this trend includes almost half of employers offering to fund workers to buy their own devices. Allowing the “chose your own” device alternative will attract and retain talent and reduce costs (see recent IBSG BYOD research), but what are the security implications?

There are a few striking data points to call out:

  • 63% of users download sensitive data on their devices. The frequency significantly increases in some countries which should alarm people doing business internationally if there are no precautions taken to secure the downloaded data. Imagine your financial data or product road maps being downloaded on an unprotected personal device.
  • Most believe remote access is a privilege. Yet in some countries they believe it’s a right as a worker. This establishes high expectations for IT to support and secure the devices including, but not limited to, extensive help desk calls.
  • Most users are diligent when a pop-up appears and will read through the details and determine what it really means. Yet, many workers from select countries generally tend to be less careful and accept warning pop-ups without reading the details which increases the risk that hidden malware will be downloaded. Hackers depend on this social mining effort.
  • 60% of users admit to engaging in risky behavior on a device (for example, personal or company-owned) while connected to corporate resources. This suggests that more security enforcement technology would benefit the prevention of data breaches and/or loss.

Data_Protection_Chart_1-300x115So, who really owns the mobile security issue? Mobile workers do not take full responsibility for a safe device with 84% believing that their IT will protect them from threats no matter what device is used. Sometimes IT’s perspective on this dependency is expressed with disbelief. An example of this issue was observed at BlackHat from a security professional during a demonstration we presented a couple weeks ago.

During the demonstration, we were showing how a user who inadvertently clicked on a phony URL sent in an email. That click triggered to phone an alert to a hacker that an “innocent” user is accessing the phony Internet site. The user unknowingly offered login credentials to their bank account. The hacker begins to record the users’ keystrokes to use later for malicious purposes. A security professional from BlackHat chimes in during the demonstration with the comment, “Dumb User.” The demonstration later showed how the combined effort of Cisco ISE and SIEM (Lancope) with unique TrustSec enforcement can identify and control the malicious activity with a single policy (for example, by segmenting and restricting users traffic close to the edge—on a network switch). The surprise to the security experts watching the demonstration was the concept that the network switch provided this enforcement.

Bottom Line: Most mobile workers have good intentions but do rely on IT to step in.

It would be great hear from you on your impressions of these recent findings and whether you are a mobile worker or an IT professional.

Please refer to Cisco’s security response for the mobile workforce: Secure Access

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Connected Millennials Entering the Workforce

Earlier this year, CNN reported that the U.S. jobless rate fell to its lowest level since 2008. Positive job growth—and having the talent to fulfill these job openings—is great news for employers, jobseekers, and the economy as a whole.

As the academic year comes to an end, college graduates around the world are getting ready to join that talent pool. This new generation of workers comes from an environment and lifestyle unlike that of their seniors, and they bring assets that are unfamiliar to more seasoned employees.

Let me elaborate for those of us born before 1980. When I joined the workforce some decades ago, faxing, mailing, and wired phones were everyday business staples. Today, each of us has at least one mobile device on hand. (I have three: my cell phone, iPad, and laptop.) And with those devices comes a shift in the ways we connect and communicate, at work and elsewhere. But many of us remember the time when we worked without these devices.

Millennials don’t have that memory. Coming of age in a mobile world makes their views fresh and their needs unique. Every time we bring a new, next-generation hire on board, I wonder, “What can they teach me?” This is the generation that will inherit the economy when we retire. By cross-mentoring each other, we all can do a better job of preparing for that future.

At Cisco, we are starting to see more and more of our customers adapting to accommodate the needs of their connected employees, both young and experienced. We’re seeing them laying the groundwork to encourage increased mobility in the workforce, with collaboration technologies and programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at the office. With BYOD and mobile technology becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, collaboration becomes more accessible, and productivity and efficiency improve. And as employees start enjoying the flexibility of working from anywhere, morale reaches a new high.

Connecting your workforce—whether it is multigenerational, multinational, or multilingual—and enabling the Internet of Everything, allows employers to bring together people, processes, data, and things. While first-time workers may lack the experience of their more seasoned coworkers, they’ll flourish more quickly if their need to be connected is fulfilled. As the pace of business continues to increase, it is imperative for executives to act now to make sure that collaboration technology is readily available, to attract Millennials and to engage employees of all generations.

My two biggest pieces of advice for companies looking to hire from this next generation are these:  First, leverage their always-connected lifestyle as an advantage to your business objectives—not as a setback. The way they play is also the way they work. Because of technology advancements, it is now completely viable for us to deliver the infrastructure for this lifestyle in the workplace. Second, encourage your entire workforce to participate in a knowledge exchange, wherein Millennials share tech know-how and senior workers share business acumen.

There is an amazing synergy going on that results from the new generation’s approach to work, the seasoned experience of older workers, and today’s mobile, collaborative technologies and architectures—and this synergy amounts to a big win for everyone.

 

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BYOD Solutions at Johnson City Schools: Improving Communications and Enhancing Information Access

April 16, 2013 at 9:32 am PST

The Johnson City School District transformed its students’ learning experiences, teachers’ teaching experiences, and parents’ academic insights with BYOD applications, allowing them the freedom to learn and connect anywhere, anytime and on any device.

With wired Internet access readily available in each of the 11 schools, the district took its first steps into wireless Internet access in its elementary schools. The city teamed up with Cisco to implement its BYOD Solutions for K12 Education to advance the schools’ wireless networks. The flexible network access allowed teachers to use laptops in their classrooms, stream online video, and adopt testing applications that used iPods, tablets, and other mobile devices. The schools’ networks also addressed the previous network limitations such as security measures preventing access for students and guests. Read More »

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Cisco Sizzle – February Edition

Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best from across our social media channels for your reading Cisco_Sizzle_Finalpleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.

Let’s take a look back at the top content from February…

The Internet of Everything Economy
Cisco CEO John Chambers discusses the possibilities of the Internet of Everything Economy and the $14.4 trillion market opportunity for companies and industries worldwide over the next 10 years.

EIGRP: Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol
Chris Le and Donnie Savage discussed the reasons behind Cisco’s opening up EIGRP as an informational draft, how this benefits customers, and Cisco’s plan moving forward. Learn more: http://cs.co/jlbYTeigrp.

Cisco StadiumVision Mobile
Who watched the Super Bowl last month? Learn how Cisco is transforming the fan experience with Cisco StadiumVision Mobile, a groundbreaking solution that delivers live video to fans’ mobile devices to create an entirely new experience in sports and entertainment venues.

Super Wi-Fi
What connections could a Public Super Wi-Fi bring to the Internet of Everything?

super-wifi-final

Collaboration: Cisco’s Approach
What really matters in collaboration? In the first of a series of blog posts, Cisco’s Rowan Trollope starts a frank conversation about what’s top of mind for IT, how Cisco is addressing these needs and how Microsoft’s approach is not hitting the mark.

Stay tuned for next month’s edition of the Cisco Sizzle for even more great content!

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Mobile Telework: Cost Effective, Flexible and Secure

RPODIMG_5776I really love my mobile devices, my iPhoneiPod, and rPod.

What’s an rPoD you ask? It’s my mobile getaway vehicle.

I can get access to mobile apps, listen to music, and enjoy a getaway to the coast. These devices are not just for fun though, these are powerful tools that allow me to telework from home or in reality anywhere and anytime. My mobile apps include my email, calendar, webex, jabber and other apps required for me to do my job.  I’m more productive, it’s more cost-effective, and very flexible.  And, it’s secure.

This week, I’m attending the RSA security conference in San Francisco.  Mobile device security and cyber security are some of the hot topics in the keynotes, special government sessions, and throughout the event. I’m able to attend this event to learn about the new technologies available to secure mobile devices and cloud and also the expanding cybersecurity threats. At the same time, I’m productive, mobile and secure.

Next week, like most every week, I will be teleworking. Please join me and more than 100,000 others to support Telework Week.

Cisco, in partnership with the Mobile Work Exchange, is a proud supporter of Telework Week from March 4-8. Telework Week 2013 is a global effort to encourage government agencies, business organizations, and individuals to pledge to telework anytime during this week. Please take a minute to visit this site to learn more about the benefits of Telework, pledge to support this initiative, and use the calculator to estimate savings. I have been teleworking for nearly 20 years and plan to continue to enjoy the benefits for mobility and telework for years to come.

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