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Risk

12/10/2007
10:49 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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Mobile Device Security: Use 'Em, Don't Lose 'Em

Last week's bMighty bMobile Virtual Expo included an observation about handheld device security that was stunner: 30 percent of handhelds are lost every year.

Last week's bMighty bMobile Virtual Expo included an observation about handheld device security that was stunner: 30 percent of handhelds are lost every year.Really? Security trainer SANS Institute says so, and even if they're off by a factor of a third, that's still close to one in five handhelds leaving the hands that should be holding them.

And as our handheld devices become more and more powerful -- and consequently more and more central to the way we do business -- that means more and more business, confidential and (for some of you) compliance-regulated data being lost along with the phone or Blackberry.

Not good!

And it gets worse -- the same presentation included RSA figures showing that close to a quarter of all users keep password lists on their handhelds. The same devices that a quarter to a third of them are likely to lose in the coming year.

How do small and midsize businesses best address this? In addition to fundamental security procedures, practices and policies about what can and cannot be kept on the devices, it may be time to take a "Mom and the mittens" approach: put some yarn on the handhelds and tie them to the employees' wrists.

Probably won't work any better than Mom's yarn did in preventing missing mittens, but it would send a message about the sort of behavior that leads to lost data devices.

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