New mobility means more security risk

New mobility means more security risk

The workforce has become more mobile in recent years, with employees now able to log on to the corporate network from anywhere. Tablets and smartphones, traditionally issued by a company but increasingly provided by the employees themselves, have become common portals to vital and sensitive business systems. Along with the new agility and accessibility that come with more portability, companies have to contend with a host of IT security risks, some heightened and some entirely new.

Leading worries
The Cloud Security Alliance recently unveiled a list of the most important security issues introduced by tablets and smartphones. Physical danger topped the list, with respondents most concerned about the possibility of losing a device. Whether stolen or simply left behind, a smartphone on the loose is a liability to a company, threatening to give access to the firm's networks.

The second most popular worry is likely familiar to data protection professionals in many industries - malware. As mobile devices have grown in popularity, they have become more likely targets for hackers. New viruses that can extract and transmit vital corporate information could undermine data security even if the device never leaves company premises.

"Personally owned mobile devices are increasingly being used to access employers’ systems and cloud-hosted data, both via browser-based and native mobile applications. This without a doubt is a tremendous concern for enterprises worldwide," said Cloud Security Alliance analyst John Yeoh.

Policies first
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is an especially sensitive topic from a data security standpoint. Keeping information safe on devices that were not meant for corporate use is a challenge. Network World recently reported that companies should have an idea for a security plan in place before they make their first software purchases, buying to suit the strategy rather than vice versa.