Security on the move

Constant connectivity comes with solutions that need to be managed and deployed with care to prevent security risks. Sean Robson reports on how enterprises can do the same.

  • E-Mail
By  Sean Robson Published  August 5, 2008

Constant connectivity comes with solutions that need to be managed and deployed with care to prevent security risks. Sean Robson reports on how enterprises can do the same.

Mobility solutions are now a fully ingrained part of most of our working lives - from external access to e-mail through to full virtual networking and application delivery. But along with the advantages presented by mobility come a number of risks as security loopholes emerge.

"There is a big risk today when using mobile devices. You have sensitive information including credit card details, user names and passwords all stored on them and these can be easily obtained by a variety of malicious methods such as phishing and trojan worms," warns Haseeb Soleja, product manager volume products, Fujitsu Siemens Computers.

If customers do not consider a contingency plan, they could find themselves in trouble since security issues do not necessarily manifest themselves immediately.

"Looking at mobile solutions, we can begin with wireless notebooks and move down to mobiles. There are inherent risks when it comes to having wireless networks and so it's crucial to have security and encryption tied into your network in case of hacking or even when the device is lost or stolen," says Asem Galal, general manager, McAfee UAE, Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait and MEEM.

There are a number of possible risks associated with mobility across all devices and these include viruses, hackers and even accidental associations.

"You have to look out for rogue devices such as access points and even the bridging of wireless laptops which opens back doors and exposes the wired network," notes Tariq Hasan, senior pre-sales architect at Motorola.

"When it comes to mobile phones the point to be made is that in terms of the sheer absolute number of threats there are not as many in comparison to laptops and desktops. That being said there are still a few hundred threats being released throughout the year and they are all fairly sophisticated," says Conn Mallon, EMEA consumer product marketing director, Symantec.

Mallon points out that smart phones are essentially more susceptible to attack as there are potentially four entry points - 3G connection, WiFi, Bluetooth and through the device's SD slot. But that thought remains a particular bone of contention.

"Some of the statistics out there say that there are 15 times more smart phones lost than notebooks. That is based purely on the size, as a phone is more likely to be left in a taxi or at a coffee shop. They are much more mobile and much more personal and that combination can lead to the possibility of more data leakage on the back of that," says Mallon.

In Soleja's opinion it is less about the device and more about the security policies in place. "One thing a company should never make use of is messenger software as much of the software is like spyware. It cannot be controlled unless it is installed in the server," he explains.

Hasan agrees: "I don't think some solutions have a greater susceptibility than others. Not in my experience anyway. It goes without saying, the more critical the application and data is, the more secure the system should be."

Many attacks are not always apparent and it often takes a while before the problems become manifest and is detected by the IT team, making them that much more dangerous for an organisation to handle.

"If customers do not have a contingency plan they could find themselves in trouble since security issues do not necessarily manifest themselves immediately, but rather gradually over time," confirms Hisham Amili, GM for the GCC at Mitel Networks.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code