ContentWatch Security Blog

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Mon

Dec 9, '13

How to Protect and Secure Your Mobile Device

Mobile devices are convenient for many reasons; with mobile devices you are always connected, they are easily accessible, and cost efficient. However, as with most things, they have their inconveniences too. Easy to access also means easy to steal (physically.) Being constantly connected makes it easier for hackers to steal personal information and data. For these reasons, it is essential to protect mobile devices. Read the following for some helpful tips.

Thu

Mar 1, '12

Government Agencies are Forced into BYOD and MDM

BYOD (bring your own device) is rising in popularity and has government agencies on alert.  First, the increase in use of smartphones and tablets by employees in all types of organizations is causing new support challenges for IT. This issue, coupled with limited IT budgets not allowing for internal mobile device purchases or upgrades, is only going to cause an increase in BYOD.

Wed

Jan 18, '12

Standing Up for Mobile Security

I recently read an article about Chris DiBona, the Google Open Source Program Manager, unleashing a complete rant about the lack of a need for an Anti-Virus program for Android and iOS.  The Manager went as far as calling companies pushing this technology “Charlatans and Scammers”.

Thu

Dec 8, '11

BYOD Has Its Risks

It's a fact.  Most IT Departments let anyone "bring their own device" or BYOD to work.  It started with the C-level group using iPhones.  Then, Android Phones became prevalent, powerful, and cheap. And, iPads and Android tabs are gaining momentum, either replacing a laptop or being used in addition to it.

Everybody's got a cool smart phone or tablet now and the ratio of these devices to PCs is going upside down.  In fact, one of the IBM creators of the first PC was quoted recently as saying “the PC is essentially dead, going the way of the typewriter and incandescent light bulbs. (Source: “With Spinoff, HP Looks Like IBM in 2005, Wall Street Journal, Aug 19, 2011).

The problem is that IT can't keep up with the cost of ongoing phone upgrades, increasing data costs, provisioning of duplicate devices for employees, data security risks and, more importantly, with the day-to-day management of these additional phones and tablets.  The tools to manage en masse are not here yet.

One glaring security challenge for IT is this… 82% of Small-Medium Businesses (SMBs) and 66% of large enterprises allow non-IT managed devices to access corporate resources. (Source: iPass Mobile Enterprise Report.)  That fact means your company data is at risk of loss.

Other security risks for mobile devices include malware and malicious apps.  Malware can infect your phone when you visit infected web sites -- which lead to data loss. Malicious apps can undermine other services on your phone, for example, to run up your text messaging count or costs.

Mobile viruses are not prevalent today due to the nature of mobile operating systems (the OS is very closed in the case of iOS and very open in the case of Android).

As time goes on, solutions for mobile protection and management will evolve and mature, to keep up with demand. The mobile security market is estimated to be in the multi-billion range and that means things are going to get exciting and tools are going to be here soon.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Wed

Nov 30, '11

Mobile Antivirus: Don't Believe the Hype

A few months ago I wrote a blog about the need, or lack thereof, for an Antivirus solution for Android and iOS and that users should instead search for a good Application Manager. You can read this post here if you like.

Today, I am ecstatic that someone more reputable and with more clout than I is finally speaking up. Chris DiBona the Google Open Source Program Manager, unleashing a complete rant about the lack of a need for an Anti-Virus program for Android and iOS.  The Manager went as far as calling companies pushing this technology, “Charlatans and Scammers. You can read his comments here.

Let me be very clear. I am not saying, “There are no threats to data loss or privacy on mobile devices. I agree that there are many malicious or shady applications found on the Google Market, and even in iTunes that will steal your information, spy on you, incur data or voice charges, etc. But calling these applications “viruses is a serious misnomer and is just a ploy by the “Scammers and Charlatans to get your money.

These rogue/shady applications do not infect your device; these applications don’t “magically appear on your phone by opening an infected attachment or visiting a malicious website; these applications only get on your device by you, the owner of the device, selecting to download and install them. If a user does not choose to download and install these apps, they will never get on their phone. 

My suggestion: Don’t run out and drop money on an anti-virus solution that is really just taking up space on your SD card and sucking your battery life

Wed

Nov 23, '11

The City of Boston tackles the BYOD Trend

Many organizations, large and small, are struggling with the BYOD issue. BYOD stands for "bring your own device" and refers to employees providing and using their own smartphones or tablets while at work.

Wed

Nov 2, '11

The Impact of BYOD on Your IT Dept.

It's really not a good idea, on so many fronts, to let employees "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) to work.  By this, I refer to employees buying and using their personal smart phone and/or tablet at work, in many cases, to do work.  Some of the inherent challenges include productivity loss, security risks, data loss, liability risks, and device management challenges.  

Sure, it saves money to let employees spend on the devices.  And, the need to be mobile is growing. Forrester Research predicts that as many as 60 percent of information workers will work in a location away from their office during a typical workweek. Mobility is key to the future.

Mandating that employees own specific company-approved devices won't get you very far in many cases. Phones are kind of like cars. Employees pick the device that represents their personality, fulfills their needs, and feels good to use. If an employee chooses their device, the IT group will struggle to keep the large number of disparate devices supported and up-to-date with the latest company policies and apps.

Also, IT guys are used to three to five year upgrade cycles with laptops and desktops. Most people upgrade their phone about every eighteen months. This constant flux will keep IT hopping.

What's more, mobile device users are accustomed to installing apps ad hoc, anytime.  The iTunes Store and the Android Market have programmed us to be on-demand driven. Employees will hope to do the same and IT will have to manage updates just like iTunes and the Market.

Malware protection and antivirus solutions exist, but they haven’t been widely used yet. If you allow employees to BYOD, that usage policy needs to change.

In addition, your organization will need to govern what types of data can be stored and used on an employee's mobile device. Consider how easy it is to lose your customer list or your patient's health history.  What happens if the phone or tablet is lost or stolen?  Can you lock it down to avoid data loss?

BYOD is going to have to be managed in the very near term.  We are looking for and developing solutions to resolve the challenges mentioned here.

Wed

May 25, '11

Where are all the "good" Android Tablets?

Good Android tablets seem to be MIA. Many big name companies showed tablets at the CES event in Las Vegas last January but have either put their Android tablet on hold or have removed it from their product lineup all together. One key reason could be that consumers aren't buying, and demand is really weak. Who can afford to sell something people don't want?