Information Security Management in a Mobile Workplace
Mobile technology and its penetration into workplaces, has surpassed the expectations of many people. A report by Gartner, states that 80% of businesses today support a workforce that is using tablets. Mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets are viewed as very flexible data input devices which are connected always and very portable. It’s the cocktail of these factors that has changed where, how, and when work is done. In summary, mobile technology has completely redefined the workplace as we knew it.
The increased use of mobile devices has also opened another frontier that employers and employees must also be wary of and that is threats to information security. Organizations that have already put in place preventive measures against these information security risks have the advantage of boosting employee efficiency and client confidence. Information security refers to the protection of both data transmission and storage. This data could be personally identifiable information of customers and employees or intellectual property and corporate data.
Factors Complicating Information Security Implementation
While many businesses strive to put in place information security solutions like the Dell SonicWALL, some of them face limiting factors. Among the challenges encountered include:
- Proliferation of mobile devices which makes it difficult to exert total hardware control
- Diversity of mobile devices which has given rise to the problem of dealing with divergent operating systems. To any business, this is both a technological and capacity challenge.
- Frequency of device upgrades so as to keep them up to speed with technology
- Enhanced social networking among employees through their mobile gadgets
- The ambiguity of cloud-based solutions such as computing and storage
As the types and numbers of mobile devices increase, there is also an almost equal set of attempts to exploit these devices. The trend in today’s environment is cyber criminals targeting mobile devices more than before and they do this with increased efficiency. In 2011, malware targeting of tablets and smartphone alone rose by a whopping 273%.
It is appreciated that mobile devices bring a new dimension of security hurdles to businesses. However, none of these challenges are insurmountable and businesses can develop capacity to transform information technology so as to reduce their risk exposure to networks, data, and applications while at the same time exploiting the advantages of mobile. In order to fully manage information security, businesses with mobile workplaces should:
- First understand the exposure of regulated data including industrial designs, trade secrets, and patents
- Create awareness of the unique risks the business faces with an aim of building a security framework that incorporates all those risk exposures.
- Determine when and how employees use technology both at the workplace and in the other places including their homes. This can help in establishing appropriate security measures.
- Earmark the set of devices that are permitted to access the network and bar the rest so as to have a controllable and well defined pool of mobile devices.
- Determine authentication and encryption security measures to help protect the data present on the approved units.
Even when hiring service providers for your cloud and data solutions, you must go a step further to establish whether these providers adhere to the security requirements. Following the establishment of security strategies and policies, businesses must embark on employee security training.