Secure Your Mobile Enterprise Without an Employee Revolt
What the mobile device and communications shift hasn’t done is change the need for proven mobile security, which is difficult to manage at the device level.
16 June 2014
Smart phones, tablets, and other wireless-enabled technologies may have killed off the old brittle server-client model forever. But what this new device and communications shift hasn’t done is change the need for proven security.
Once, there were mostly closed but highly secure enterprises. Maybe some will recall, say, the days of IBM’s system network architecture and token ring. But those technologies, along with other relics of the Big Iron and minicomputer ages, are gone. Unfortunately, with them went the virtually airtight security they brought.
All the big machines shrank into ever-smaller devices. Now, maybe your company issues fancy new iPads or iPhones. Or perhaps it maintains a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that lets employees attach their personal tablets and smart phones to the enterprise network.
But the fact remains, it’s difficult to effectively manage security at the device level. The security controls must be as close to your data assets as possible.
The Whole-y Cloud
Yes, BYOD can save your hardware costs, hypothetically — the entire world is becoming one big network, we’re told. But in this new software-as a-service age (SaaS), there are still bad guys who want to hack your network and steal your secrets and wreck your vacation in Italy. Protecting your proprietary data presents new challenges that, regrettably, require complex solutions.
Not only do your employees require device security, but so do your business partners, and any SaaS providers you rely on. There are many potential points of breech.
There are some steps you can take to secure your mobile enterprise:
- Deploy virtual private networks (VPNs)
- Have everyone download anti-virus software
- Make employees use multi-factor authentication, in addition to passwords
- Put everyone’s portable devices in a crusher and make them use mainframe green screens
- Implement a multi-level centralized mobile security application to protect your data syncing and sharing activities
You Want Us to Do What?
Expect employee pushback on your directives — they are probably using their own devices, after all. Have you already acted on the first three suggestions? Number four perhaps a bit extreme? Then let’s talk about number five.
It’s a good idea to put a centrally managed layer of security between those devices and your enterprise systems. Such a system should have bank-grade security, and function at the device, system, and enterprise levels. You'll be able to sync information securely across mobile devices, without stifling the flexibility and productivity your employees need.
In the next blog, we’ll discuss just what a secure mobile app for the enterprise should offer.
Meagan Parrish is the Senior Manager of Social Media at Intralinks. She is responsible for social media strategy development and the communications for Intralinks' online communities. Meagan has been creating social media strategies for a variety of companies across verticals for the past several years. She holds Bachelor degrees in Marketing and Finance, with a minor in English Literature.