A mobile concern as smart devices proliferate
Mobility means convenience, but it also creates a major security concern for corporations and businesses in the U.S.
According to the report “Security in a Remote Access World” by iboss, the growth of mobile employees is putting a strain on resources used to secure mobile traffic. For instance, the rise of devices accessing a network is causing bandwidth to explode in growth, but is also making it hard for IT professionals to track cybersecurity threats.
Now users are wandering around with both corporate and personal smartphones and tablets, and jumping between personal, family and business activities. Experts say this “jumping around” could cause serious breaches in security that could lead to disaster.
Jayson E. Street, vice president of information technology with SphereNY based in Oklahoma City, spoke at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce convention in Florida in October about the dangers of unprotected mobile devices and how easy it is for hackers to gain access.
“I logged on and did a demonstration, and you could see people look at their phone and see where they were vulnerable,” Street said. “Using public Wi-Fi can expose you to malicious attacks.”
Street said employees and customers, as well as businesses, can protect themselves by turning off the Wi-Fi tracker on their phones when not using Wi-Fi. In addition, all employees with access to sensitive information should use a virtual private network, or VPN, to create encrypted tunnels to the internet.
“Even if you are on a hostile hot spot, your traffic is encrypted, and hackers can’t get in,” Street said. “Most people don’t think twice about connecting to a hotel’s Wi-Fi, but hotels are the biggest targets for attackers. Treat every Wi-Fi hot spot as hostile and always use the VPN. It’s one of the best defenses against attackers.”
Companies are responding to the threat.
According to a 2016 report by research firm Gartner, 25 percent of mobile-ready enterprises will deploy mobile threat defense capabilities on enterprise-issued mobile devices by 2019. In addition, 60 percent of current portable physical flash data carriers will be replaced by cloud-based business data sharing by 2020, and capabilities such as enterprise digital rights management encryption will be the only durable, granular, file-level mobile data protection.