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Be Proactive Secure Mobility In The Workplace

Jun 20, 2008
No matter whether your organization has a strategy for mobile working, employees will inevitably utilize the technology available and 'go mobile'. Pushing employees to use only devices that are delivered by IT is possible, but, both difficult to realize and liable end up in resistance due to perceived limitations.

As an alternative, organisations should form a policy and strategy that embraces new ideas and methods to produce secure mobility in your workplace. 'Secure mobility' is typically defined as the capability to deliver employees and customers with secure 'anytime, anywhere, any device' contact with the corporate network.

Your organisations may already have been faced with the real risk of security breaches because of the explosion of mobile devices in the workplace. Researches performed in Great Britain, pinpoints specific security challenges from within the organization.

The findings demonstrate that mobile workers are not always concerned about security when they are away from the office environment, with 32% of the workers sharing the computer that they utilize to access company data with at least one other person.

The truth is that some of the employees in your organization are most probably already using consumer mobile devices to make them capable of working remotely. To assess the risk that is associated with this, conduct a baselining exercise beginning with an audit to locate existing remote workers and the devices that they are utilizing. This can be performed through a simple questionnaire or by deploying technology to track remote access and mobile data usage.

Once you are familiar with the current levels of mobile working, you can start to look at the risks linked with this and plan for mitigation and controlled expansion of the mobile network. The planning phase should ascertain the various types of access needed for the network and the related risks.

Once you have finished the risk analysis, find out the potential impact of exploitation of these risks in terms of the expense to the organization (this could be material cost, lost productivity, brand damage or regulatory non-compliance etc.). This 'expense' should then be weighed up against the cost and affect of mitigating the risks and the advantages of productivity gains and more flexible working practices. This exercise constitutes the basis of the business case for mobile working.

Plan your mobile strategy such that you address the needs of the people in your organisation by developing an official mobile policy.

A policy typically defines who is accountable for security in the organisation, how security is managed and how incidents are handled. It is crucial that overall accountability for security is assigned to a single individual so that ownership and escalation paths are clear. Many organisations are understanding the criticality of network security by appointing a Chief Security Officer (CSO). CSO's have a seat on the executive board, dedicated budget and deal with all aspects of security within the organisation. In other companies, this role may be enacted by the CIO, IT manager or another individual.

The policy should clearly document the types of data accessible to specific groups of employees and spot the various communications methods that are used. Lastly, the roles that strategic technology partners like system integrators play in the deployment of secure mobility also needs to be documented to make sure that responsibilities are understood and properly met.

Secure mobility benefits include better employee productivity and ensuring business continuity. Secure mobility benefits also comprise clearing traditional work boundaries and forming a more flexible workspace and upgraded client interactions.
About the Author
Datacraft is the leading independent IT services and solutions company in Asia Pacific. Datacraft combines an expertise in networking, security, Microsoft solutions, storage and contact centre technologies, with advanced skills in consulting, integration and managed services, to craft IT solutions for businesses.
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