Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Help protect your mobile workforce from cyber attacks

Help protect your mobile workforce from cyber attacks

The shift from office workers becoming mobile and at-home workers is unavoidable.  As technology makes it easier for employees to access the same information outside the office as inside, companies are often left scrambling to figure out how to keep their data secure.

Mobile employees take their notebook PCs with them when they’re traveling or working from home, yet they access information in the same way they would in the office. One problem that mobile workers face is they might not always have the full protection of the corporate firewall or other security systems. As a result, their notebook PCs have increased exposure to viruses, worms, and other types of malware, increasing the risk that these machines will become infected or compromised. When these notebook PCs are later reconnected to the office network, their machines can be used as an entry-point for theft or other attacks.

Below are some of the key issues that companies and mobile workers need to be aware of.

Staying safe in a VPN environment
Virtual private networks (VPN) are often assumed to be a fail-safe solution for remote users, but that’s not always the case. While VPNs prove a tunneled connection that allows only authorized users to access corporate networks, they are not considered to be a complete end-to-end solution. One of the shortcomings of VPNs is that they do not ensure that mobile devices are free from software and personal configuration vulnerabilities. Malware, such as viruses or worms could spread within these environments, and are easily introduced through standard connections like DSL or cable.

Even with its limitations, using a VPN as much as possible is still the safest bet for a remote worker. With many locations offering public Wi-Fi networks, it’s important to utilize a VPN to encrypt your activity and keep private information out of the wrong hands.

Some ways to keep your VPN secure:
  • Using a password manager like LastPass or 1Password can help to manage the mess of creating—and keeping track of—numerous passwords to be used on multiple online accounts.
  • Everyone has their preference of browsers, but it’s worth investigating the different browsers to determine which one is the most secure. Many browsers now offer apps or extensions that can encrypt the information you transmit online.
Keeping your mobile workers’ data more safe and secure
Whether it’s protecting the notebook itself from quick hands in an airport security line, or the information stored within in the notebook, a comprehensive mobile security plan that educates users is a necessity. At its core, the plan should raise awareness among employees about vulnerabilities that currently exist—including ways people can take advantage of those vulnerabilities, and the steps that mobile workers should take to prevent them.

However, developing a comprehensive security plan is often easier said than done. For instance, many mobile workers might think they have a solid grasp of what it takes to keep their confidential data secure. Another obstacle is that the plan will need to be refined on a constant basis to account for new trends and security threats.

Is your notebook as secure as your data?
Notebooks are convenient because of their flexibility and ever-shrinking designs, but those same features are what make them so appealing to thieves. You can protect your data as much as possible when working online, but what happens if someone steals the notebook containing all of your (and your company’s) data? Is it secure?

Here are some ways to keep your notebook—and the data stored on it—safe:
  • Lock it up—there are a variety of metal cables and locks available that let you secure your notebook to a desk when in use, and keep them locked in drawers when they’re not.
  • Say goodbye to usernames and passwords—many new notebooks come equipped with fingerprint scanners, smart card readers and recognition.
  • Secure your data—encrypting files stored on your computer makes them viewable only with proper authorization.
Keeping your printer safe
It’s easy to overlook the printer as part of your mobile technology, but with many businesses using printers with HP ePrint, the printers are now just as connected as your notebook. By utilizing the HP ePrintCenter, users can configure their printer settings as little or as much as you like, including limiting the users allowed to print to the printer.

Attackers today are far more likely to exploit a poorly protected network or system then a secure one. When companies institute a comprehensive set of best practices, ensuring that all systems are secure, they not only protect their employees but the company’s data as a whole.
Mobile Device Management said...

I think we should use different passwords for different accounts and store them in encrypted form.

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