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Mobility Keeps Us Moving in the Cloud

Created: 17 Jun 2011 • Updated: 17 Jun 2011
khoi's picture
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It’s a fact! How we do business continues to change. We are used to being available anytime, anywhere and our personal technology must keep up with us. Gone are the days when we could get by with any mobile device available – we now need to have the capabilities of a PC at our fingertips.

Even though this availability provides convenience for our fellow employees and clients, it can sometimes come at a price. Businesses must not only have the best security in place for mobile devices, but also policies for protecting the data in the cloud.

With so much proprietary business information being accessed and stored on our mobile devices, it can often-times be difficult to know where to start when it comes to protecting and securely setting policies for the devices in the cloud. Here are a few tips on where businesses can start:

Take inventory – You can’t protect or manage what you can’t see. You must take inventory of the devices in your organization to gain visibility across multiple networks and into the cloud. After taking stock, implement continuous security practices, such as scanning for current security software, operating system patches and hardware information, such as model and serial number.

Secure in the cloud – As mobile devices are access points to the cloud, they need the same multi-layer protection we apply to other business endpoints, including:

  • Firewalls protecting the device and its contents by port and by protocol.
  • Antivirus protection spanning multiple attack vectors, which might include MMS (multimedia messaging service), infrared, Bluetooth and email.
  • Real-time protection, including intrusion prevention with heuristics to block zero-day attacks for unpublished signatures, and user and administrator alerts for attacks in progress.
  • Antispam for the growing problem of short messaging service spam.
  • Content Protection (eg, DLP and web security) for preventing confidential data from being sent externally and blocking inappropriate content from entering the enterprise.
  • Securing the information in the cloud also helps to minimize any impact on the device.

Integrate security and management – Security and management for mobile devices should be integrated into the overall enterprise security and management framework and administered in the same way – ideally using compatible solutions and unified policies. This creates operational efficiencies, but more importantly, it ensures consistent protection across your infrastructure, whether it is on premises or in the cloud. Security policies should be unified across popular mobile operating systems such as Symbian, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Android or Apple iOS, and their successors. And non-compliant mobile devices should be denied network access until they have been scanned and, if necessary, patched, upgraded or remediated.

Encrypt in the cloud – Millions of mobile devices used in the U.S. alone are left behind or lost – whether it is in taxi cabs, restaurants or airports – every year. To protect against unauthorized users gaining access to valuable corporate data, encryption delivered in the cloud is necessary to protect the data that resides there. As an additional layer of security, companies should ensure they have remote-wipe capability for unrecovered devices.

Stay flexible – Threats that target mobile devices are the same for small businesses and enterprises. As businesses grow, they require security management technology that is automated, policy-based and scalable so that the infrastructure can accommodate new mobile platforms and services as they are introduced. With this information-centric framework in place, companies can take full advantage of the benefits offered by the cloud. At the same time, having the right policies and technologies in place provides confidence that data – the new business currency – is secure from unauthorized access.

Cloud-driven services on our mobile devices can stay secure if you start with these simple steps and policies. This is technology we should embrace, not be afraid of, so by implementing the right policies and controls, you can stay flexible and secure while navigating the cloud.