Sponsored By

Consumerization Of IT: Security Is No Excuse

At most companies, you can't just say "no" to consumer devices. Here's a plan to take the lead on information security issues.

Michael A. Davis

March 25, 2011

3 Min Read

InformationWeek Green - Apr. 4, 2011

InformationWeek Green - Apr. 4, 2011

InformationWeek Green

InformationWeek Green

Download the entire Apr. 4, 2011 issue of InformationWeek, distributed in an all-digital format as part of our Green Initiative
(Registration required.)
We will plant a tree for each of the first 5,000 downloads.


Consumerization Of IT: Security Is No Excuse

Consumerization Of IT: Security Is No Excuse

Sorry to break this to you, but if you're looking to use security as the reason to keep consumer technologies out of your company, you'll have quite an uphill battle. Not because the security risks aren't real (they are), and not because you can guarantee the data security on the devices (you can't). It's because, as with virtualization, the business benefits significantly outweigh the security risks. As I heard one CIO say recently: "Consumerization is a parade. You can either get out in front of it to stop it and get trampled, or you can grab the baton and lead the parade."

Consumer devices are taking hold quickly in enterprises in part because it's easy to access company data without having to get IT involved. Any employee with ActiveSync access to corporate email can get that email on their personal smartphone or tablet in less than a minute.

The first challenge in securing personal smartphones and tablets is knowing when those devices are being added and removed from the company network, and knowing if they adhere to company policy. Bob the engineer could connect with to his corporate email with a BlackBerry today and a brand new Android phone tomorrow. The problem is your company's email server most likely can only push a security policy to BlackBerry or Windows Mobile devices. Without proper management, you don't even know that Bob is no longer adhering to company policy.

Don't despair. Securing the unknown starts with a tried-and-true technique: default deny. Through the use of mobile device management tools such as MobileIron, you can prevent devices your IT team hasn't researched or approved from connecting to company resources. Heck, you can even make it so that any device needs your mobile application installed on it before it can receive a single corporate email. These mobile device management applications can prevent unwanted applications from being installed, can force removal of certain apps, and can even remotely wipe devices, even if your email platform doesn't support security policies on those devices. If a device is rooted or jail broken, you can prevent it from connecting to your infrastructure altogether.

Oh, great, you're thinking: This guy thinks I'm going to default deny and then spend my life managing a whitelist of every single Android smartphone variation and every firmware variation.

To read the rest of the article,
Download the Apr. 4, 2011 issue of InformationWeek

About the Author(s)

Michael A. Davis

CTO of CounterTack

Michael A. Davis has been privileged to help shape and educate the globalcommunity on the evolution of IT security. His portfolio of clients includes international corporations such as AT&T, Sears, and Exelon as well as the U.S. Department of Defense. Davis's early embrace of entrepreneurship earned him a spot on BusinessWeek's "Top 25 Under 25"
list, recognizing his launch of IT security consulting firm Savid Technologies, one of the fastest-growing companies of its decade. He has a passion for educating others and, as a contributing author for the *Hacking Exposed* books, has become a keynote speaker at dozens of conferences and symposiums worldwide.

Davis serves as CTO of CounterTack, provider of an endpoint security platform delivering real-time cyberthreat detection and forensics. He joined the company because he recognized that the battle is moving to the endpoint and that conventional IT security technologies can't protect enterprises. Rather, he saw a need to deliver to the community continuous attack monitoring backed by automated threat analysis.

Davis brings a solid background in IT threat assessment and protection to his latest posting, having been Senior Manager Global Threats for McAfee prior to launching Savid, which was acquired by External IT. Aside from his work advancing cybersecurity, Davis writes for industry publications including InformationWeek and Dark Reading. Additionally, he has been a partner in a number of diverse entrepreneurial startups; held a leadership position at 3Com; managed two Internet service providers; and recently served as President/CEO of the InClaro Group, a firm providing information security advisory and consulting services based on a unique risk assessment methodology.

Keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats, newly discovered vulnerabilities, data breach information, and emerging trends. Delivered daily or weekly right to your email inbox.

You May Also Like


More Insights