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Securing New Zealand's mobile workforce

23 Dec 14

Check Point Software Technologies’ Hamish Soper outlines three main mobility challenges for organisations – and how to address them.

A new approach to mobile security can help organisations achieve the right balance of protection, mobility and productivity.

A recent mobility security study of 100 IT professionals in Australia and New Zealand found that 70% allow personal devices to connect to their corporate networks and 90% say the number of personal devices connecting to corporate networks is growing, with 74% having more than doubled the number of personal mobile devices on their corporate networks in the past two years.

Mobile security is not a single problem but a mix of challenges from securing remote access, to securing data on devices, to securing documents that need to be shared. There’s also the challenge of making users aware of the organisations' data security policies and of the possible consequences from data losses, through education.

Locking down devices too tightly can interfere with employees’ application user experience and their privacy, which in turn can lead to them trying to work around the organisation’s policies. What’s needed to enable this is an integrated approach that addresses the three main mobility challenges.  

Extend protection against threats to any device, wherever it’s being used This challenge occurs when a device becomes infected by malware when used outside the corporate perimeter. This makes the data stored on the device vulnerable and the threat can spread to the corporate network. 

An effective solution is to deliver security to devices as a cloud-based service, using an encrypted virtual private network tunnel. This prevents suspicious file downloads, blocks malicious websites and stops bots before they can cause damage, protecting users, networks and business data from threats inside and outside the company network. It also enables corporate security policies to be extended to all devices, for easier management.

Set up a secure workspace on any device This challenge is enabling secure use of personal devices while protecting and managing business data on those devices. 

The solution is to create a secure business environment on the device which segregates business and personal information and applications, while protecting both. This lets users access corporate email, documents, and assets from within a secure, encrypted application workspace on the device that is separated from personal data. 

Protect business documents anywhere, on any device The third secure workforce mobility challenge is protecting business documents everywhere they go, both inside and outside the network.  

Here, the ideal solution is to secure the document itself, to ensure only authorised users can open and read frequently-used document types such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Acrobat.

Security should be established when the document is first created, and travel with it, so corporate security guidelines are always enforced, with full logging and auditing of who accessed the document. 

Taking a device-agnostic approach to security and focusing more on managing and protecting the use of business data greatly simplifies mobility challenges.  

With this approach, organisations can enable true enterprise mobility and productivity anywhere, without compromising security. 

Hamish Soper, is NZ country manager for Check Point Software Technologies, a worldwide leader in securing the internet.

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