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Tackling Mobile Security Risks for Government

“Cyber threats. Security breaches. Hacking.”

As mobility becomes more pervasive, these words have become engrained in our work/life culture. The issue of cyber crime has earned national news headlines as governments across the globe grapple with how to build both secure and mobile-enabled infrastructures.

A few weeks ago, Cisco and Mobile Work Exchange released findings from a self-assessment tool that highlights some interesting statistics, enabling us to better understand mobile security best practices and vulnerabilities. The report specifically looks at government employees, 90 percent of whom claim to use at least one mobile device for work, and reveals that many government workers (41 percent)  are putting themselves and their agencies at risk.

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Here are a few other compelling findings:

  • On mobile devices, 31 percent use a public Wi-Fi connection and 25 percent do not set passwords.
  • 6 percent of government employees who use a mobile device for work say they have lost or misplaced their phone. In the average Federal agency, that’s more than 3,500 chances for a security breach.
  • Despite the Federal Digital Government Strategy, more than one in four government employees have not received mobile security training from their agencies.

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A Balanced Approach to Mobile Security

Gartner recently made three interesting predictions about mobility in the workplace. While the ideas are compelling, they only offer one-side of the story, and the solution.

In this blog post, I’ll take a deeper look at each of these predictions and discuss why the future of mobility rests on IT leaders taking a balanced and strategic approach to security that focuses more on protecting the network and proprietary data and less on implementing overly broad restrictions.

Gartner Prediction #1: Twenty percent of BYOD projects will fail by 2016 due to IT’s “heavy hand.”

While the actual failure rate may be less than one-fifth, mobility efforts will fail if companies are too restrictive with MDM policies. Instead, a two-fold approach to supporting a BYOD environment from a security perspective is essential.

First, IT leaders should take a balanced approach to security that protects business-imperative network solutions and data. In most cases, blocking Angry Birds and Candy Crush is unnecessary and not scalable. With Apple and Google supporting over a million apps each (and counting), it can cost precious time and IT resources just trying to keep up with restricting non-threatening applications.

Secondly, IT leaders should be focused on encouraging users to use secure solutions. This will only grow more important as the explosion of new connections and various devices evident in today’s Internet of Everything world creates more opportunity for malicious actors to utilize even more inroads to compromise users, networks, and data. By educating employees to take an active role in the security of their device, users can be empowered to report suspicious threats and have an open dialogue with IT teams. Read More »

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Securing the Future Enterprise

This blog post is part three of a three-part series discussing how organizations can address mobile security concerns through an architectural approach to mobility. The first post discusses how next-gen Wi-Fi models will pave the way for secure mobility. The second post highlights the risks versus the rewards of mobility.

Providing corporate network access via mobile devices is nothing new to today’s IT administrators. However, the future of BYOD and mobility will change as rising generations expect and demand more seamless and secure connectivity. Recently Tab Times editor Doug Drinkwater shared a similar idea: BYOD is still in an early phase with plenty of new challenges and opportunities ahead.

In this last installment of this security and mobility series, I’ll discuss why BYOD policies will change and outline how C-level executives can leverage employees as solution drivers in order to solidify the future of mobility within their organization. Read More »

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Mobile Security: Is the Risk Worth the Reward?

This blog is part two of a three-part blog series discussing how organizations can address mobile security concerns through an architectural approach to mobility.

In my first post of this three-part series, I discussed how next-gen Wi-Fi models will pave the way for secure mobility and the value of secure Wi-Fi. In this post I’d like to take the mobility conversation a bit further and outline potential risks and rewards that IT departments face when deciding to deploy mobility solutions in our Internet of Everything (IoE) landscape.

A big factor for IT to adopt a mobility strategy with new technology and solutions is weighing the practical risks versus the rewards they stand to gain. A recent ISACA survey of IT professionals offered insight into how employed consumers think and act in terms of security and mobility. The study and ISACA’s 2013 IT Risk/Reward Barometer reveal:

  • Only 4% of those surveyed named the makers of their mobile phone apps as the entity they most trust with their personal data
  • 90% don’t always read privacy policies before downloading apps to their devices

Most of us are familiar with the rewards of mobility, but the belief and behavior gap illustrated by the ISACA survey proves we need to better understand risks of mobility. Read More »

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A Powerful Network Simplifies Adoption of New Mobile Devices

It’s a critical time for enterprise IT as new mobile devices from Apple, Samsung and Google enter the market and operating systems are updated almost weekly. Apart from the new color and form factor options, this round of new technology features new operating systems and a proliferation of app updates, which IT leaders must be prepared to meet head on.

It’s an exciting time for mobile technology, but it’s also an important time for enterprises to look at not only meet the demands of today’s mobile-enabled workforce, but tomorrow’s as well. Basic mobility functionality is not and will not be enough, and a solid framework must be put in place to support the growth.

In this inaugural post of a four-part Network Matters blog series, I’ll be discussing how IT leaders can rely on a network, built for all kinds of devices, to simplify the process of onboarding new mobile technology and free up precious IT resources. I would like to provide you with a deeper look at how having the right network in place can help ease the challenges of tomorrow that will be presented to IT departments due to device evolution and enable a culture of self-service for employee-owned devices.

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