Apple’s iPad, coming if you’re ready or not
Forbes magazine reports Apple has sold more than 25 million iPads in the 14
months since the iconic tablet device was first launched in April 2010.
Despite the hype, you don’t need to worry about tablets displacing desktop
PCs and laptops in small business offices. Tablets remain a drop in the ocean
compared with the installed base of PCs and the 350 million or so new units
expected to sell during 2011.
Yet people will want to bring their own iPads and similar devices to the office. They may expect to
use your network infrastructure to connect their devices to the net and your
employees may want to perform at least some work tasks on tablets.
There’s no stopping this trend to tablets. Are you ready?
Your first consideration should be security. Portability increases the chance a device is lost
or stolen and with it the business information stored on the tablet. Worse, if
an employee can use their iPad to access your systems, a criminal who has
stolen the device can use it to access the same systems.
Insist employees use the iPad’s built-in security tools. They need passwords
– preferably complex ones that change regularly. Tell them to use the security
timeout – with a relatively short time setting. Only allow encrypted company
data off your server and use a document check-in, check-out system.
It’s possible to remotely wipe data from a lost or stolen iPad. Likewise,
you can set the device to wipe data after a number of failed password attempts.
All these techniques have a role to play, but the weakest link in the
security chain is human. People need to be properly trained and best practice
usage policies put in place before data is set free.
For example, you want people to let you know immediately a device is missing
so its data can be wiped and its access hole plugged. Allocate some of your
security budget for staff education.
It’s worth getting external help to identify risks and build systems to
protect sensitive data. Outsourced IT security specialists are tuned into the
latest threats and can provide around-the-clock remote helpdesk support and
monitoring, that’s important when your workers are no longer chained to their