Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mobile

6/27/2014
12:00 PM
Vijay Basani
Vijay Basani
Commentary
Connect Directly
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

3 Mobile Security Tips For SMBs

Everyone in an organization has to work together to combat intrusions and data loss, but this is especially true for small businesses.

Mobile technologies have introduced a completely new world of risks to organizations that use them. While many larger enterprises have the resources to mount comprehensive campaigns, the era of mobile computing has placed smaller companies smack in the middle of a widespread and proliferating security crisis.

Here are three steps to help SMBs develop smarter mobile security policies in this ever-changing landscape.

First step: policy
Map out a security and mobile device policy that clearly separates personal and corporate data commingled on devices. Employees need to know specifically what they can and can't do on their mobile phones. You should write a user-focused rules of behavior document that every employee must understand and sign before they are granted access to your network.

Second step: education, access controls, and audits
It’s important to educate users on both the risks the devices present to the organization and your expectations of conduct. But strong, clearly stated company policy should also be consistently enforced through access permissions, published audit reports, and other sanctions. Frequent reminders that are integrated into general company-wide communications can make it clear what is expected and create a culture of good stewardship of digital devices and network resources.

Users should also be taught about the  many basic precautions they can take to mitigate risks associated with lost or stolen devices -- and how to keep both personal and corporate resources significantly safer. These steps include:

  • Setting lock screens with strong passwords of 8- to 10-character minimum length
  • Installing anti-virus/anti-malware apps
  • Implementing data encryption
  • Securely backing up all data
  • Installing device locator and remote wiping capabilities
  • Keeping operating systems and apps updated

Third step: ongoing monitoring
Continuous monitoring and measurement will be essential to address known and emerging threats. This effort requires focus, discipline, leadership, and innovation involving:

  • People -- trained, skilled information workers
  • Culture -- a true concern for protecting employee data
  • Leadership -- for the big picture, and priority setting
  • Process -- You can't improve what you don't measure. What are you doing with the technology once you buy it?
  • Technology -- Is it implemented properly? Are you monitoring it? Is it integrated across your entire enterprise?

Strategies to monitor and assess devices and their data should include identification of all mobile devices accessing your network of IT assets, real-time monitoring and correlation of all activity, and both alerting and reporting on violations of security policy, user privacy, and compliance.

For companies of any size -- but especially SMBs --  the most essential and urgent task at hand is to build a culture of good stewardship of devices and data through a robust and detailed company policy and consistent enforcement at all levels, from entry-level employees to CEOs. Everyone in a company has to work together to combat intrusions and data loss.

Vijay Basani is CEO and President of EiQ Networks. He is a serial entrepreneur with a track record of building successful businesses delivering enterprise-class solutions. Before starting EiQ Networks, he founded AppIQ, an application storage resource management provider ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2014 | 3:50:18 PM
Re: Policy
I think many enterprises put more faith in procedural documentation. ie, What should be done, who should perform the tasks, how they should be performed. I think its because these components are quantifiable to some extent and can show great value. And most importantly represent actionable items. However, I think it is important to map out WHY as well. Which is what policies provide. 

As you stated policy establishes the base. For example, we are performing these procedures because our policy dictates that standard accounts should not contain admin privileges. Our policy is such because it helps to protect our environment from watering hole events. There are many reasons as to why policy should be established and I am perplexed as to any who would be opposed to having one.
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
6/30/2014 | 10:11:19 AM
Re: Policy
Ryan, it seems to me that policy is a bottom line basic for an enterprise, large or small. Why do you think organizations drag their feet about establishing them? 
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 10:24:49 PM
Re: Policy
Good SANS reference. I recently took the SANS GSEC and many of the questions stemmed around corporate policy and how it very muchs integrates with security intiative. Very interesting on how laying a policy out logically can extend and enhance the technical aspect of what you are trying to accomplish.
Bprince
50%
50%
Bprince,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 10:13:49 PM
Re: Policy
Good point. I agree that policy is a key issue. It can be complicated, but there a lot of good templates and best practices out there that can give people a headstart: http://www.sans.org/reading-room/whitepapers/leadership/managing-implementation-byod-policy-34217

BP
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 6:18:53 PM
Policy
Great article. A well defined policy can put your organization to advance initiatives such as mobile device management and EMM. I have many conversations with Gartner about Mobile Devices and they always implore the establishment of policy. Policy can set the baseline to refer to during deployment and can be very effective if future events leave configuration ambiguous. Without proper documentation there isn't anything to compare a healthy config against. 
News
US Formally Attributes SolarWinds Attack to Russian Intelligence Agency
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/15/2021
News
Dependency Problems Increase for Open Source Components
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  4/14/2021
News
FBI Operation Remotely Removes Web Shells From Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3035
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-20
An unsafe deserialization vulnerability in Bridgecrew Checkov by Prisma Cloud allows arbitrary code execution when processing a malicious terraform file. This issue impacts Checkov 2.0 versions earlier than Checkov 2.0.26. Checkov 1.0 versions are not impacted.
CVE-2021-3036
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-20
An information exposure through log file vulnerability exists in Palo Alto Networks PAN-OS software where secrets in PAN-OS XML API requests are logged in cleartext to the web server logs when the API is used incorrectly. This vulnerability applies only to PAN-OS appliances that are configured to us...
CVE-2021-3037
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-20
An information exposure through log file vulnerability exists in Palo Alto Networks PAN-OS software where the connection details for a scheduled configuration export are logged in system logs. Logged information includes the cleartext username, password, and IP address used to export the PAN-OS conf...
CVE-2021-3038
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-20
A denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability in Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect app on Windows systems allows a limited Windows user to send specifically-crafted input to the GlobalProtect app that results in a Windows blue screen of death (BSOD) error. This issue impacts: GlobalProtect app 5.1 versions...
CVE-2021-3506
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
An out-of-bounds (OOB) memory access flaw was found in fs/f2fs/node.c in the f2fs module in the Linux kernel in versions before 5.12.0-rc4. A bounds check failure allows a local attacker to gain access to out-of-bounds memory leading to a system crash or a leak of internal kernel information. The hi...