Mobile Security, Part 2 – Common Sense Advice and Basic Practices

Being able to work from anywhere presents great opportunities, however it’s important to keep security in mind when
working away from the office. Here are some of the potential security risks and suggestions on how to reduce them.

With the advent of remote working, cloud computing, Wi-Fi access (often free) in coffee bars, pubs, and other public
places, and the availability of public access computers in Internet cafes and other common areas, the ability to work from anywhere 24/7/365 has been a reality for some time. Whether on a laptop, netbook, tablet PC like the iPad or smartphone (mobile phone with advanced, often PC-like functionality such as the iPhone or phones running Android or Windows Mobile), it is easy to take your work with you and this presents increased risks to the security of your organization’s data. No matter how technically secure your IT systems are, people can often be your weakest link.

Safe and Responsible Computer Use – Acceptable Information Technology Use Policy

The first step is to develop an IT acceptable use policy to inform your organization’s staff, clients and consultants of what is expected of them when using your organization’s technology resources in the workplace or elsewhere.

Lost or Stolen Equipment

A big risk with highly portable (and desirable) devices is loss and theft. As well as taking precautions to avoid these mishaps, it’s worth preparing for the worst that could happen. We recently covered a product called Prey to help with the tracking and recovery of lost or stolen equipment. In addition, you should ensure that devices are protected with a strong password. This includes your standard login password as well as phone and device passwords. Those four digit passcodes on phones can be
too easy to break.

Another suggestion would include the consideration whether sensitive data needs to be present on mobile devices at all. Where it is absolutely necessary, make sure it is encrypted so it cannot be read by unauthorized persons. There are a number of easy ways to encrypt the information on newer laptops running the latest version of operating systems.

Physically secure laptops – it may be stating the obvious but if you are using your laptop or mobile device in a public place, never leave it unattended. In the event that this is completely unavoidable, at the very least, secure your device using a suitable lock such as those available from Kensington. This is a common practice for registration desk or hospitality desks – many organizations want to bring their own equipment since they interface with their data sources or contain presentation
information for conference events. We have seen more than one laptop used for a conference presentation walk away after the last session.

In addition to these basic precautions:

  • Insure it. Make sure your equipment insurance also covers laptops and other portable devices when they are off the premises.
  • Don’t leave your portable devices in full view while in unattended cars. Also consider whether or not you should be using them on a busy subway, train, or bus where potential thieves can see your expensive laptop or iPad.
  • Laptop carry cases are easily identifiable by thieves so consider carrying them in something not as obvious.

Next up, data encryption and security ….


About SCB Enterprises
System Solutions and Integration

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