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Strategies for Mitigating Mobile Security Threats and Increasing Productivity
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7/18/2014 | 10:39:11 AM
Strategies for Mitigating Mobile Security Threats and Increasing Productivity
The mobile workforce is no longer satisfied with simply having access to corporate email and calendars; employees expect access to all of the applications and data needed to perform all job tasks from a multitude of personal devices, anywhere, anytime.

The threat of mobile worker trends not only opens businesses up to corporate data loss and malware, but there is the loss of productivity. Management expects IT to keep workers productive while keeping complexity and network security threats to a minimum. There are a number of strategies for enabling mobile worker productivity while still protecting corporate networks from threats.

Considering which applications mobile users need access to, not only now, but also in the next quarter, or even next year is the first step in enabling mobile worker productivity while remaining secure. Next step is to determine whether the corporate applications and resources to which mobile users want access to are web-based, client/server-based or host-based, or are they looking for access to back-connect applications like VoIP or VDI? Each of these will help determine which technologies will be the best fit for securing back-end networks. To best meet mobile worker needs, it's important to look for secure access control solutions that enable access to the apps and data required for today and tomorrow ─ not point solutions that will limit the business workloads that can be supported. Ensure that the technologies you choose will be able to address everything you need.

Second most important step to ensuring worker productivity and security within the organization is to consider which devices workers will use to access applications and resources. Again, IT needs to consider not only the immediate need, but also what devices they'll expect to use in the coming months. Decide whether mobile devices are replacing laptops and PCs, or are you required to support mobile devices and laptops and PCs. Most businesses will have requirements to support a hybrid environment consisting of legacy laptops and PCs, plus smart phones and tablets using varying OSs and platforms. IT must be able to support the breadth of devices that come in across the organization.

When developing an organization's mobile security strategy, considering the regulatory requirements for securing data is key to success across all avenues. If company data is subject to regulatory requirements, IT will likely need to enforce device password lock, on-device data encryption, and possibly require secure containers to separate corporate data and applications from personal apps and data stored on the device.

Finally, deploying layered security to protect from hidden malware, so that users and their device accessing the corporate network are trusted. Increasingly, the traffic going over the network is encrypted, so businesses need to not only be able to inspect traffic that is unencrypted, but also to de-crypt the encrypted traffic.

The little bit of data on a phone that's lost on a train isn't likely to harm an organization's network, but with the potential for that lost phone to be used as a conduit to hack into the network, every organization's most important goal should be to protect the back-end applications and data. Organizations must consider the business needs, and the needs of its mobile workforce, while ensuring that corporate data is not compromised.

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