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The Continuum Approach for Secure Mobility

May 5, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

A couple weeks ago, we spoke about the mobility journey and the phases that organizations take as they embrace the widely accepted mode of mobility—Beyond BYOD to Workspace Mobility (device-focus, application-focus and experience-focus). Whatever phase your organization is in, security is a top priority. These phases can help determine your secure mobility approach but your risk aversion level will also define it. Whatever your risk tolerance, the mobile threat landscape is extremely active and clever—do not underestimate it.

The dynamic nature of mobile threats does not stop by simply entering from your mobile device but it can further propagate and manifest across the network, wired devices, virtual, cloud and data center environments. So your secure mobility approach must be non-stop, continuous and pervasive—end to end. To hinder the chance of threat damage or inappropriate access whether intentional or not, one must offer comprehensive secure mobile access controls at the access layer across each phase of an attack, before, during and after.

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Highlights from AFCEA Homeland Security Conference: Remaining Ever-Vigilant

AFCEA Homeland SecurityLast week I had the opportunity to attend the AFCEA Homeland Security conference in Washington, D.C.

Eleven days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the first Director of the Office of Homeland Security was appointed leading to the combination of 22 different federal departments and agencies into a unified, integrated cabinet agency when it was established in 2002.

The Department has a vital mission to secure the U.S. from many threats with capabilities that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cybersecurity to chemical facility inspections.

The three day conference focused on a number of important topics including:

  • Mobility and Interoperability
  • Information Sharing and Fusion Centers
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Role of Laboratories and Scientific Research in Homeland Security
  • Cybersecurity Education and Continuous Diagnostics and Monitoring

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User Behavior and Training Critical to Secure Mobility

Worker mobility has become an essential practice for government agencies. From teleworking on the road to accessing critical data on your smart phone, mobility increases productivity and employee satisfaction. And the trend toward mobility is growing. In fact, the Cisco Visual Networking Index predicts there will be more than 10 billion mobile devices worldwide by 2017. With the increased proliferation of mobile devices comes the need to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place so agencies can take advantage of increased capabilities while still maintaining high levels of security.

By and large, government agencies are doing a good job of balancing the need for mobility with security requirements. However, according to a new study by Mobile Work Exchange, which was commissioned by Cisco, 41 percent of government employees are putting agencies at risk with secure mobility habits. Clearly, there is some room for improvement. MWEhotzone

The study used the Secure Mobilometer, an online self-assessment tool, to capture data from end-users and agencies. The tool ranked their mobility habits based on practices of user inputs, password protection, data loss prevention, mobile device policies and security training.

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Security: Vital for Technology-enabled Education

October 11, 2013 at 8:47 am PST

More and more we are seeing the education landscape change to include more technology for collaboration and mobile learning. Colleges and universities are enabling secure networks for staff and students to access resources on-campus and off. With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) and Educause next week, we are hearing a lot of talk about the importance of campus network security and threats. Read More »

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Consider Mobile Work Patterns and Security Impact

February 28, 2013 at 9:37 am PST

Mobility and application access capabilities have encouraged many of today’s work patterns. Some work behaviors were recently noted in a Cisco-commissioned research report on mobility and BYOD comparing IT and end user viewpoints. Striking about the findings is that day-to-day business activities were relatively balanced on wired and wireless connections—so while mobility is here and growing, usage is no more than wired. Core to the findings were end users’ view that mobile devices are 37% less effective than their corporate laptop for conducting business activities. From an IT perspective, managing devices and multiple policies in a wired and wireless environment was a key challenge. Mobile device usage behaviors surveyed suggested a personal and social flair. The predominant applications used on mobile devices are not specific business applications (22%) but collaborative applications (56%). The report also indicates that mobile devices are used for personal use more frequently than IT estimates.  Read More »

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