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Securing your always on, always connected mobile devices
Mark Rugless 270005G1W6 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  manager laptops smartphones rugless security devices mobile tivoli virtual byod business_it_security vdi mark ipad gts endpoint infrastructure desktop
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Smartphones and tablets have quickly changed the face of computing in the business world. Leading research houses like Forrester, IDC and Gartner are predicting that businesses will purchase more smartphones and tablets this year than traditional PCs. You could say we've entered the post-PC age.
And without doubt it's not just the businesses buying them. Employee-owned devices are making serious headway in small and medium-sized businesses. So many more businesses now in the SMB space are seeing the benefits of letting their employees use their beloved iPads and iPhones at work and figuring out how to support and secure them.
Of course with smartphones and iPads it's not just a straight one-for-one PC swap. Many workers now require the triptych of smartphone, iPad and laptop to support the way they work and enable the constantly connected workforce.
Indeed, it's the type of work which will determine the device choice. For me, my Blackberry is great for scanning emails and speedy text responses. iPad is great for reviewing documents, creating presentations and longer e-mail responses. While laptop remains my preferred option for long documents or long stints of work. And I see my customers in the SMB space using their devices in exactly the same way. Using their iPads for customer presentations, their iPhones to keep on top of email while they treat their trusty laptop as an untethered PC. While it doesn't travel so frequently now, it's the device of choice for long document creation.
However, while enabling enhanced levels of productivity and facilitating flexible working arrangements, smartphones and tablets are vulnerable.
Many laptops, tablets, and smartphones are used across networks, geographic boundaries and even end users. No external network is 100% secure. The device, its applications, its online connection and the networks and protocols it transfers data over can all be compromised. Some mobile devices will undoubtedly be left in the back of cabs, get lost and potentially fall into the wrong hands.
So how do you secure them? Smartphones and iPads should be configured to enforce important security features like strong password controls, encryption, and remote wipe. But it's impossible to secure client devices in the same way as the static data centre.
The shift to mobile devices needs a shift in thinking. It's no longer just the device that needs to be secured, it's the applications and data, it's your IP that needs to be locked down.
With mobile devices less is definitely more. And by this I mean don't download an application or a database; do it through a browser.
A sure way for SMGs to remove these security headaches is embracing a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and the private cloud. With VDI, your data is stored centrally rather than on individual devices. So should a device fall into the wrong hands, it's just the device that needs replacing, not your IP on it.
Furthermore you can go beyond securing your mobile devices and integrate policy-based enforcement. This prevents these smartphones from accessing key corporate resources unless required security policies and applications are in place. How safe are your devices?