Getting mobile security right: The foundational elements on which to build

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As a mobility security architect, I get to research and play with the latest technologies developed for the enterprise. The pace of change is astonishing, to the point that if we are not at the top of our game, technology becomes a destructive force and puts our enterprises at risk.

There are many ways to approach security, but getting the balance between security and user experience remains the biggest challenge. Tackling these issues will give you a secure foundation on which to build:

  • Who am I? The ability to give employees one identity is key. If employees are using multiple accounts and/or passwords to access daily tasks, you are putting the company at risk. Look into Identity & Access Management (IAM) providers. With IAM, employees can use one account, one password for all activates. You can further enhance security by adding features that restrict access (conditional access) to corporate data only from certain devices, or insists the user provide a second form of ID (Multi-factor Authentication) .
  • Protect me from me. Mistakes happen, but can be prevented. Companies can now put controls in place that block or inform a user if they copy corporate data to somewhere they shouldn’t. You can define what is ‘work’ and what is ‘personal’ and allow a user to safely swap between the two worlds knowing that a safety net will ensure sensitive corporate data won’t appear in the wrong place.
  • Can’t find my phone. No problem. You’ve already enforced use of PINs and encrypted the device to ensure it is safe from unauthorised personal. And you can use Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Mobile Application Management (MAM) tools to remove all corporate data from devices once they are connected to the network.
  • Protect me from the bad guy. Everyone with a computer is familiar with anti-virus software, and threat protections are now necessary for mobile devices as attacks grow more sophisticated, with hackers using applications, web browsers, Wi-Fi networks and more to illegally gain access to device data.
  • I sent it to the wrong person. Again, no problem. With the latest information protection technologies, you can prevent email and documents from falling into the wrong hands, with controls that allow you to pre-configure who can or can’t read data. You can revoke access to content that you think has fallen into the wrong hands, you can get alerts when you mistype the receipt, you can classify data so it is encrypted and only readable by intended persons, and lots more.
  • A pain in the application. It’s all about the apps now. Company applications pushed by your organization to help you do your job better. Time tracking apps.  Expense apps.  And the sneaky social apps we like to install to keep up with our personal life. All these applications interact with your device and other applications on your device. No big deal, right? It depends. Are you happy to have your personal information ‘borrowed’ from your device and shared with unknown third parties? Didn’t think so. Luckily there is technology available to monitor what apps are doing and alert you to any type of compromise.
  • You spy with your little eye. A company can be restrictive and block users from breaking the rules or empower users by allowing them have control over how they work. But be warned user, most companies will take the middle road, allow you to do what you wish but logging suspicious activity.

A secure workplace can be achieved with the correct technology, carefully planned and executed in the correct manner. The days of restricting your users are gone. Embrace the modern world of technology and allow it to enable and empower your workforce. Use technology to enable technology.


Austin Breathnach headshot-loresAustin Breathnach is a practice architect in the Mobility and Workplace practice of DXC Technology, specializing in all aspects of mobile security. He is also a member of the DXC Mobility Enterprise Services (MES) product team. Austin joined DXC (then HPE) after college, starting in software management as an application packager. In 2014, he joined the company’s Mobility and Workplace product team, helping to develop the first capability around mobile device management and becoming the practice lead architect for the offering.

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