A Potential Mobile Mess

Nov 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Marleah Blades


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You're probably used to seeing the epilogue “Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld” below the signature of e-mails from your busy colleagues. You may yourself send messages that end with the familiar note. If you and your business are constantly on the go, handheld wireless devices of many types will let you send e-mail, synchronize calendars and edit and read documents on the road without the extra burden of a laptop.

But do you know how many of these devices are passing around your corporate information, and have you dedicated a portion of your security policy to their protection?

A recent study conducted by research firm Coleman Parkes and sponsored by mobile device management vendor Mformation Technologies Inc. asked 200 CIOs and telecommunications directors of top 500 enterprises about their corporations' use of mobile devices. It found that less than 1/3 of those surveyed actively monitor the types of data that users are storing on them. If these devices are storing unprotected corporate information, a loss or theft could mean more than identity theft — it could amount to significant risk to intellectual property and perhaps even a breach in regulatory compliance.

Create and regularly review a policy for the use of handhelds in your organization. Publicize the policy widely among employees, and implement processes and policies to better secure the mobile devices in use in your organization. Technology offers many options for advanced security.

  • Ensure that all mobile devices are password-protected.

  • Check that your IT department is regularly updating patches for the devices in use.

  • Encrypt communications to and from mobile devices, and encrypt data stored on those devices.

  • Explore technology that remotely wipes devices clean when they are reported lost, stolen or compromised.

Mobile devices are a great boon to business travelers, but only when they are properly secured. Now that application developers are eyeing the popular iPhone for future business use, you've got little time to spare.


Marleah Blades is senior editor for the Security Executive Council, an international professional membership organization for leading senior security executives spanning all industries, both the public and private sectors, and the globe. For information, visit www.csoexecutivecouncil.com.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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