SDN Blog

Security risks multiply with soaring use of mobile devices

Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2014

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Mobile Phone SecurityCisco projected last year that by 2014 the number mobile-connected devices would exceed the world’s population by 2014.

That’s a fascinating tidbit. It reflects the soaring use of mobile devices to communicate in business and everyday life.

Along with growing popularity of mobile networks has come an increase in threats to data, especially business and institutional information.

Hackers and other cyber criminals have more opportunities than ever before to steal electronic information and they are trying to do it.

Obviously, employees need to exercise care in using mobile devices and employers should strengthen their mobile security strategies.

Earlier this year, Cisco Systems and the Mobile Work Exchange released findings from a self-assessment survey to help highlight cyber vulnerabilities and best practices. The report specifically examines mobile security risks within federal agencies. However, the many of the lessons also are applicable to private businesses.

California-based Cisco is a prominent, international company that designs, makes and sells networking equipment. The Mobile Work Exchange is a public-private partnership affiliated with Cisco that promotes safe and effective mobile work.

Some of the worrisome findings in the assessment of federal agencies and employees outlined in Patrick Finn’s blog include:

  • Six percent of government employees who use mobile devices for work say they’ve lost or misplaced their phones.
  • More than 25 percent of government employees have not received mobile security training from their agency.
  • While 31 percent of mobile device owners use public Wi-Fi connections, 25 percent do not set passwords.

Start by training employees

Workers like the flexibility that comes with mobility. Employers benefit, too. Study after study have indicated that a good, mobile network can help an organization increase productivity and possibly reduce costs.

The challenge is to balance risk factors such as employer trust and employee responsibility.

Cisco and the Mobile Work Exchange suggested that federal agencies that participated in the assessment take two logical steps:

1.      Train employees about potential security risks. Threats exist regardless of whether workers use their own device or an employer-issued device.

2.      Start a formal program to manage mobile devices and help ensure that the devices are secure before they can be used to access the employer’s network.

Businesses and other organizations that would like measure their “secure mobility pressure” may take an online assessment as part of the Mobile Work Exchange program.

The brief multiple-choice test is designed to help organizations and individuals understand mobile habits and vulnerabilities so that steps can be taken to reduce risks.

SDN can help, too

Businesses and organizations in the Sioux Falls area that want to tighten their security can contact SDN Communications.

SDN is the premier provider of broadband connectivity for businesses in the Sioux Falls region. The company also provides an array of cybersecurity-related services to companies, organizations and governmental units.

The company has experts on staff who can help client organizations make sure they have the right tools and strategies in place to keep data secure. For example, SDN offers managed services that provide companies and organizations with top-notch hardware, such as firewalls and routers, to protect networks.

SDN also offers Remote Network Monitoring to watch clients’ networks for possible problems. Trained technicians monitor traffic patterns on clients’ networks 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and will alert a client of problems or suspicious activity.

Service-level options are available to provide help to a business or organization of any size.  Just visit the SDN Communications website or call 800-287-1442 for more information.