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[Summary] How Secure Is Your Mobile Worker?

August 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm PST

Let’s start with 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 just released new global research (white paper) , Cisco Connected  World International Mobile Security study, that explores the mobile worker’s view points on 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; the movement for mobile personal devices in the workforce has been well recognized.  A recent response to this trend includes employers (almost half) offering to fund workers buying their own devices.  Allowing “chose your own” device will attract and retain talent and reduce costs (see recent IBSG BYOD research)—but what are the security implications?

There were a couple striking data points to call out:

  • 63% download sensitive data on their device …and the frequency significantly increases in some countries—
  • Most believe remote access is a privilege—yet in some countries they believe it’s a right as a worker—
  • Most are diligent when a pop up appears and read through the details on what it really means. Yet, some workers from select countries tend to be generally less careful.
  • 60% admit to engaging in risky behavior on a device  (personal or company-owned), connected to corporate resources,

So, who really owns the mobile security issue—mobile workers do not take full responsibility for a safe device--as expressed in their high confidence in their IT with over 84% believing that IT will protect them from threats no matter what device.  Read more on http://blogs.cisco.com/security/how-secure-is-your-mobile-worker-2/

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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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MegaTrends: Cisco TrustSec from User Access to the Data Centre

In my previous Blogs I have talked about Megatrends including BYOD, the Next-Generation Workspace, Video and the Internet of Things. One unfortunate reality all of these trends have in common is that they are going to put additional stress on your current Network and Security Infrastructure and Operational Process.

TrustSec uniquely offers the welcome opportunity to improve and extend Security Policy Control and the same time make it easier to Operate and Maintain. This post concludes the mini-series on TrustSec. Previous Blogs have looked at TrustSec in the DC and applied to VDI.  Here I have asked Dave Berry Cisco TSA to take a step back and look at the bigger picture from Network Access to the DC. Read More »

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MegaTrends: The Need for Securing Data Center Traffic

Data Centres are evolving rapidly, in response to the many industry IT Megatrends we have previously discussed. Services and applications are increasingly being delivered from very large data centres and, increasingly, from hybrid and public clouds too.

Specifically, a good example of services being delivered from data centres is Hosted Desktops. I discussed in my last post how technologies such as TrustSec can help secure VXI/VDI deployments. VXI is a good example of a service originally delivered only from private data centres, now being delivered As A Service as well.

Video is (and will be) increasingly delivered from data centers as a service. Infrastructure services (servers/VM, storage…) are also delivered internally more and more through Private Clouds.

Consequently, securing those environments is now perceived by our customers CTOs and architects, as the biggest barrier to adopting clouds on a much larger scale.

We will therefore look at how TrustSec can pervasively help secure all data centre traffic. Read More »

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Using TrustSec to simplify Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployment

We recently discussed the perfect IT storm that is currently brewing in business. BYOD, Unified Access, Video, the Many Clouds, SDN… all happening at once, on current infrastructure, and yet demanding more.

Some of the comments you made further emphasized the need to have an architectural approach.

VXI/VDI deployments are no exception.

Discussing VDI deployments with our customers in EMEAR, two things really are at the centre of our discussions from an infrastructure standpoint.

-         Security, which I’ll  discuss in today’s post.

-         Latency and user experience.  Two recent posts, here and here, provide great insight on how to tackle this challenge.

I have therefore asked Steinthor Bjarnason (sbjarnas@cisco.com), Senior EMEAR Security Consultant, based out of Norway, to give me his perspective.  He has 15 year experience in the security space and his perspectives are drawn from numerous customer projects, both in the Enterprise and the Service Provider space. Read More »

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