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2/12/2015
05:00 PM
Alexandra Gheorghe
Alexandra Gheorghe
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Five Techniques to Keep Employees Computing Secure

With BYOD on the rise, these tips can help IT staff mitigate security risks, from mobile devices to data centers.

There is never too much security in place when it comes to a company’s data center, employees, and clients. US companies have embraced the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend, and this movement continues to gain traction in 2015.

Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of employers will ask their employees to bring their own device for work. As enterprise BYOD programs continue to become more commonplace, 38% of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016, according to a global survey of CIOs conducted by the firm.

As ecommerce and mobile commerce continue to grow across the US, the world’s largest economy experiences more than half of all global payment card fraud (51%, according to Business Insider), with a cost of $7.1 billion in 2013, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. What’s more, with each holiday or event and the high rate of mobile phone penetration, online and mobile fraud becomes more prevalent, making the country a perfect target for cybercrime.

Not surprisingly, every two seconds, another American becomes a victim of identity fraud.

By maintaining security control through better end-point management, IT staff can help mitigate security risks from mobile devices to data centers. At the same time, US companies gain happier and more efficient employees.

CIOs just have to find the perfect combination of tools and use them wisely. Here are five techniques to begin with:

  • IT staff should start with performing an initial security audit to see the existing holes and define the likely threats. The insider threat is the greatest, proportionally, followed closely by social engineering, so they should train staff in good security practices
  • As paranoid as it sounds, IT departments should also consider thorough employee background checks. Most attacks start with a single person that opened the wrong e-mail attachment. CIOs should also have in mind the termination of employment relationships and the consequent transfers of company data hosted on personal devices.
  • Remember to add firewall protections, too. Securing all devices will also increase malware awareness, making employees more conscious of online dangers, even when they navigate on the Internet on the go or at home.
  • Carry out regular security updates on all software and devices, and implement a password policy that everybody respects (minimum eight characters, unique and complex, regularly changed).
  • When it comes to the tools IT staff may use, a security management solution is not an option, but a necessity. All IT departments should install and update a certified security solution that will consolidate control for virtualized, physical, and mobile endpoints.

Besides advanced persistent threats and DDoS attacks, improper security measures are the weak links that can take a company offline both in terms of reputation and profit. IT consumerization and BYOD trends should make CIOs reassess what their enterprise security strategy means.

Companies shouldn’t stop allowing employee-owned devices, but they shouldn’t be too permissive either. A clear policy for email, Internet, and mobile devices will make employees’ computing secure, and everybody happy.

Alexandra fulfills the Security Specialist role for Bitdefender, performing writing duties such as security news for Bitdefender's security blog, as well as marketing and PR materials. She started writing about online security at the dawn of the decade - after 3-years in ... View Full Bio
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