On the go and insecure

May 2011 Information Security

Balancing the mobile security high-wire.

Companies can no longer afford to neglect the importance of securing their mobile devices in a world where smartphones are able to access an increasing amount of sensitive and critical enterprise data.

That is according to Deon Liebenberg, MD for Africa at Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind BlackBerry. He says that companies need to ensure that they put security measures in place that allow them to strike an optimal balance between too little security and between security measures that restrict end-users from achieving business benefit from their devices.

Deon Liebenberg
Deon Liebenberg

Says Liebenberg: “On the one hand, a lack of understanding mobility may prompt companies to take an overly cautious approach to mobile security – all features and functions of the smartphone are locked down, long and complex passwords are required, access to e-mail is provided and all applications are banned.

“On the other hand, too little security stems from IT administrators looking for the path of least resistance. Users are not expected to use password protection and are allowed to install any apps they like on their devices.”

Sometimes both approaches can even be found within one organisation, with say 10% of users falling under ‘too little security’, such as executives and IT staff, while 90% of the organisation is restricted by too many security measures.

There is a balance to be struck between demands from partners, customers and management to ensure that sensitive data is treated securely, including when it is mobile, and from users for always-on, always-connected mobility.

“Users want to download and access applications and have instant access to their calendar, e-mail, contacts and intranet/extranet. With these new realities – for which demand is only going to grow – come new approaches to mobile security.”

Liebenberg says that companies can win the support of end-users for their security policies by making them as transparent as possible, ensuring they do not cripple functionality and designing them to help users be more productive.

If a device is locked down too tightly, users will simply reject it, which then puts pressure on the organisation to introduce devices that cannot be secured or controlled. If the device is left too open, then potential risk is introduced into the enterprise.

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

New ransomware using BitLocker to encrypt data
Technews Publishing Information Security Residential Estate (Industry)
Kaspersky has identified ransomware attacks using Microsoft’s BitLocker to attempt encryption of corporate files. It can detect specific Windows versions and enable BitLocker according to those versions.

Create order from chaos
Information Security
The task of managing and interpreting vast amounts of data is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Cyberthreats are growing in complexity and frequency, demanding sophisticated solutions that not only detect, but also prevent, malicious activities effectively.

Trend Micro launches first security solutions for consumer AI PCs
Information Security News & Events
Trend Micro unveiled its first consumer security solutions tailored to safeguard against emerging threats in the era of AI PCs. Trend will bring these advanced capabilities to consumers in late 2024.

Kaspersky finds 24 vulnerabilities in biometric access systems
Technews Publishing Information Security
Customers urged to update firmware. Kaspersky has identified numerous flaws in the hybrid biometric terminal produced by international manufacturer ZKTeco, allowing a nefarious actor to bypass the verification process and gain unauthorised access.

Responsible AI boosts software security
Information Security
While the prevalence of high-severity security flaws in applications has dropped slightly in recent years, the risks posed by software vulnerabilities remain high, and remediating these vulnerabilities could hinder new application development.

AI and ransomware: cutting through the hype
AI & Data Analytics Information Security
It might be the great paradox of 2024: artificial intelligence (AI). Everyone is bored of hearing it, but we cannot stop talking about it. It is not going away, so we had better get used to it.

NEC XON shares lessons learned from ransomware attacks
NEC XON Editor's Choice Information Security
NEC XON has handled many ransomware attacks. We've distilled key insights and listed them in this article to better equip companies and individuals for scenarios like this, which many will say are an inevitable reality in today’s environment.

iOCO collaboration protection secures Office 365
Information Security Infrastructure
The cloud, in general, and Office 365, in particular, have played a significant role in enabling collaboration, but it has also created a security headache as organisations store valuable information on the platform.

Cybercriminals embracing AI
Information Security Security Services & Risk Management
Organisations of all sizes are exploring how artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI, in particular, can benefit their businesses. While they are still figuring out how best to use AI, cybercriminals have fully embraced it.

A strong cybersecurity foundation
Milestone Systems Information Security
The data collected by cameras, connected sensors, and video management software can make a VMS an attractive target for malicious actors; therefore, being aware of the risks of an insecure video surveillance system and how to mitigate these are critical skills.