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Corporate BYOD puts client data at risk

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When employees improperly use mobiles, they put their companies at risk for data breaches. This includes leaving lots of sensitive data on the devices—which can pave the way to leakage of data, plus other issues.

Mobile device use in workplaces is increasing—and so is its associated security risks. Current security measures are lagging behind the increased rate of mobile device use in the corporate realm.

One study not only showed that a lot of company information was left on handsets, but personal information as well was left on, putting employees at risk for personal compromises.

This small study demonstrates a clear need for improved guidelines and policies governing smartphone use and security of the devices. This becomes even more relevant as businesses turn more to cloud storage for data.

Non-approved software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps, used by employees, is widespread, according to a McAfee study. These apps are not approved by the company’s IT department. Employees can easily bypass the IT department by using the cloud. The study showed:

  • Over 80 percent of survey participants reported using unauthorized SaaS apps.
  • About 35 percent of SaaS apps used on the job are not approved.
  • About 15 percent of users have had a security problem using SaaS.

Employees may not realize that their chosen SaaS apps are poorly safeguarded. Such employees aren’t malicious; they’re just trying to be more efficient. Businesses need to find the right balance of protecting themselves yet allowing employees to use apps for increased productivity.

An ideal situation would be to monitor SaaS apps and apply policies that do not inhibit employees’ ability to be productive.

A recent Forbes article got my attention and the authors solutions make good business sense.

Six Solutions

1) XenMobile. This allows IT to secure and manage smartphones, data and apps, and establish policies based on smartphone ownership, location or status. Users can then more easily access the web, e-mail, corporate apps and documents with a single click on a mobile.

2) Airwatch. This mobile device system provides management of apps, content and e-mail, to oppose inadvertent mismanagement of smartphones by employees (e.g., storing documents in vulnerable locations).

Just enter username and password; Airwatch will wirelessly and automatically configure all the settings, apps, security policies and more based on the worker’s role in the company.

3) Mobile Iron. This system manages and secures apps, devices and content, ideal for businesses that support the BYOD program. Personal content can be separated from corporate content, protecting the employee’s private data.

4) Good Dynamics secure mobility platform. This is a BYOD program that keeps employees productive while zeroing in on security. Personal data is partitioned off from business data to protect programs like e-mail.

5) Samsung Knox. This system is for Android devices, managing with a multi-tiered security approach. One’s network will be protected from malware, hacking, viruses and non-approved access.

6) Protect your BYOD on wireless networks. Use VPN if you’re on a portable wireless device. Hotspot Shield VPN is free, though its paid version is more e expanded and faster. First launch Hotspot before you use your PC laptop, iPad or iPhone to connect to free public Wi-Fi services like at the airport or at a coffee shop or hotel.

Your entire web surfing session will then be protected. All of your connections will be secured. This will eliminate some of the aggravation for your company’s IT department.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.

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