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Computing anywhere and the security challenges for your organisation

Work/life balance is a common aspiration nowadays and it requires organisations to stretch their work environment so that ‘work can be done anywhere’.

For instance, an employee coming back from maternity leave might request to work three days at the office and two days at home. Setting up a home office means needing access to the company’s system, VPN access and extra firewall security are a must.

What about those who are constantly on the go or off campus? These users need to check devices constantly, keeping track of email and assignments using mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

Lenovo’s latest whitepaper on mobile computing identifies the top industries in the mobility space: manufacturing, financial services, retail, government and healthcare. According to Lenovo, companies are switching to mobility models for various reasons: to improve employee satisfaction, increase order fulfilment and asset tracking accuracy, reduce out-of-stock items, reduce labour cost via automated processes, to improve field services and so on.

The healthcare industry has embraced the world of mobility. Doctors use tablets to update patients’ data, connect with other staff and research information on a daily basis. In fact, it is said that this year, smart wearables in the healthcare industry is set to grow exponentially. From intelligent asthma management, to a patch that keeps track of patient stats, to a watch-like device that helps people quit smoking and contact lenses that helps the eyes and tracks glucose levels, the possibilities are endless.

Once caveat has been security breaches. Shock reports of patients’ information being leaked online has put pressure on the healthcare providers to up their game, making mobile device management more important than ever.

Mobility is also transforming the education industry. Mobile education happens when a student uses a mobile device, either a smartphone, laptop or tablet, to access content and communicate with other students and teachers. It allows students to learn anytime and anywhere, creating a more personalised learning experience, where educators and students do not need to be in the same room anymore.

Back to mobile security

While the majority of users believe the use of devices in the workplace is important, they also believe these devices present a huge risk.

A Cisco International Mobile Security study said users engage in “risky behaviour” in the operation of their devices, be it personal or company issued. The study revealed that it is a general belief that the IT department will help them if something goes wrong with the company-issued devices.

A Webroot research conducted in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, revealed that 64 per cent of organisations with both organisation-owned or user-owned devices reported significant increases in demand for help desk support to repair, replace or manage the security of smartphones, tablets and notebooks. Some issues consume around 36 per cent of one help desk technician’s time resolving these issues each month.

More than half of those surveyed also reported mobile threats reduced user productivity and disrupted business activities. Around 60 per cent also required additional IT resources to manage mobile security, which resulted in higher costs.

The funny thing is despite the increased threats, organisations are just not giving mobile security the attention it needs. Traditional on premises security still receives most of the focus.

Three things you can start working on today

  • Education and training are essential. Make sure your users know about the specific threats they will encounter with mobile working and how to protect themselves from them.
  • Update your security policy. Create (or update) and deploy a comprehensive ‘acceptable use policy’ to lessen security breaches based on human errors. This is essential given that human error is the second leading cause of all data breaches.
  • Virtualisation is a good option. There are many security benefits to virtualisation. According to Lenovo’s whitepaper, with virtualisation any device is only a terminal that can access applications and data on servers. It allows central control and management of all data and has strong security layers to protect the data stored within the data centre.

By choosing vendors carefully and developing a holistic solution, your IT team will know exactly what is in place when the system is deployed and what additional measures are needed.

Keep an eye out for next month’s article! We will be diving into the mobile device management world.

If you have any concerns about your currency policy or need advice about the best devices and how to manage them, talk to our team. We have trained security experts to answer your questions and advise you on best practices.

Give us a call at 1300 732 930 or send us an inquiry.

View Lenovo whitepaper ‘15 Steps to Reduce Risks in Enterprise Mobility