Se­cur­ing the mo­bile work­force


Cy­ber­se­cu­rity is not all about en­sur­ing you have an­tivirus, fire­walls and se­cu­rity up­dates in­stalled on your sys­tems. It’s about ad­dress­ing a wide va­ri­ety of threats such as de­lib­er­ate at­tacks, in­ter­nal breaches, and in­dus­trial es­pi­onage. It should ex­tend past desk­top com­put­ers and in­ter­nal servers, writes Barry Scott, CTO, EMEA at Cen­trify. Re­gard­less of where de­vices and ap­pli­ca­tions re­side, and who owns them, or­gan­i­sa­tions need to en­sure they have full con­trol over those re­sources that are ac­cess­ing and stor­ing cor­po­rate data, to safe­guard against th­ese threats. The new of­fice model is evolv­ing, cloud com­put­ing, vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion, and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of mo­bile de­vices has left many busi­nesses fraught with the task of man­ag­ing the com­plex­ity and se­cu­rity of IT in­fra­struc­ture. Pro­pri­etary data no longer sits within the of­fice walls. In fact, it no longer re­sides within the re­mit of the cor­po­rate fire­wall. As we are faced with an in­creas­ingly hy­brid in­fra­struc­ture, and an in­flux in com­pli­ance reg­u­la­tions to boot, en­sur­ing that cor­po­rate and sen­si­tive data re­mains se­cure and is pro­tected against in­sider and out­sider threats, re­quires end- to- end vis­i­bil­ity and con­trol over users, ap­pli­ca­tions, servers and de­vices. To­day’s business en­vi­ron­ment is driv­ing en­ter­prises to find cost ef­fi­ciency at ev­ery op­er­a­tional level. Out­sourc­ing, off­shoring and cloud com­put­ing are giv­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions agility and flex­i­bil­ity. With the in­crease in flex­i­ble work­ing mod­els, mo­bile work­ers, con­trac­tors and off­shore per­son­nel, IT de­part­ments are chal­lenged with pro­vid­ing IT ser­vices across a much more dis­parate net­work, to an even broader cross sec­tion of work­ers that re­quire th­ese mo­bile de­vices and ap­pli­ca­tions to drive their pro­duc­tiv­ity.

94% of IT se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als use third party ap­pli­ca­tions on their mo­bile de­vices for work, with 82% us­ing up to 10 apps

A re­cent survey, con­ducted by Cen­trify, found that 94% of IT se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als use third party ap­pli­ca­tions on their mo­bile de­vices for work, with 82% us­ing up to 10 apps. This demon­strates how ap­pli­ca­tions have be­come a cru­cial tool for em­ploy­ees whilst in the of­fice and on the move, ex­em­pli­fy­ing the risks for or­gan­i­sa­tions as th­ese cloud- based or mo­bile apps cre­ate is­lands of iden­tity that be­come harder for IT

to track and man­age.

Pre­vent­ing in­sider er­ror

Whilst the Stuxnet Worm re­vealed the over­whelm­ing threat of APTs and the fu­til­ity of re­ly­ing on ex­ist­ing se­cu­rity sys­tems, the risks do not al­ways come from the out­side. It could be a sim­ple down­load from an in­fected email or the con­nec­tion of a virus- laden USB, th­ese in­ad­ver­tent com­pro­mises of the in­for­ma­tion in­fra­struc­ture can all re­sort in a mas­sive breach of se­cu­rity. Iden­tity and ac­cess can of­ten be over­looked, but un­less en­ter­prises can find a uni­fied way to se­curely iden­tify in­di­vid­u­als, they risk their business com­ing un­der at­tack and fac­ing a host of reper­cus­sions. Just as im­por­tantly, uni­fied iden­tity en­ables straight­for­ward re­moval of ac­cess from ap­pli­ca­tions and re­sources when an in­di­vid­ual leaves the en­ter­prise. Or­gan­i­sa­tions must man­age users’ dig­i­tal iden­ti­ties and the cor­re­spond­ing roles and rights those iden­ti­ties have across mo­bile de­vices, servers and ap­pli­ca­tions and en­sure the business is pro­tected, while re­main­ing ag­ile enough to re­spond to evolv­ing business con­di­tions.

In an in­creas­ingly reg­u­lated world, it is vi­tal to be able to en­sure ac­count­abil­ity of ac­tions back to an in­di­vid­ual

It is very im­por­tant to im­ple­ment best­prac­tice se­cu­rity prin­ci­ples, such as leas­t­ac­cess and least- priv­i­lege, to en­sure that users only have ac­cess to, and priv­i­leges on, sys­tems where they have a le­git­i­mate business need. Also, in an in­creas­ingly reg­u­lated world, it is vi­tal to be able to en­sure ac­count­abil­ity of ac­tions back to an in­di­vid­ual. Be­ing able to un­der­stand and man­age who has ac­cess to what, where, and when, is cru­cial to en­abling com­pa­nies to man­age ac­cess and iden­tity across mul­ti­ple plat­forms, from any de­vice and lo­ca­tion. Lever­ag­ing new tech­nolo­gies such as sin­gle sign- on ( SSO) pro­vides the abil­ity for a user to en­ter one user­name and pass­word that en­ables them to lo­gon to mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tions within an en­ter­prise and de­liv­ers the ca­pac­ity to en­force au­then­ti­ca­tion poli­cies across the whole or­gan­i­sa­tion. A sin­gle, uni­fied ar­chi­tec­ture for sign- on can ad­dress th­ese chal­lenges, and busi­nesses need to ap­ply th­ese same lev­els of se­cu­rity ca­pa­bil­ity to those IT re­sources out­side the of­fice walls ~ as they do to those inside.

Barry Scott, CTO, EMEA at Cen­trify

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