Sean Elliot: Enterprise mobility threatens security

Enterprise mobility is the latest technology trend to have a significant impact on business '“ currently a staggering 1.3 billion workers globally use mobile technology to access email and work remotely.

Sean Elliot, managing director of Network ROI. Picture: Contributed

Many IT professionals believe that mobile working will have as much of an impact on business as the internet did in the 1990s.

Mobile working delivers many significant benefits, with increased productivity, a reduction in the daily commute and a healthier work-life balance a few of the positive outcomes. Enterprise cloud adoption has also seen massive growth over the past few years, with industry forecasts predicting that companies will spend over $61 billion (£42bn) developing mobile business apps by 2018, providing centralised, multi-device working environments.

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However, the amount of company data transmitted between and stored on mobile devices is creating a security headache for organisations, IT managers and business owners. Enterprises are legally obligated to protect sensitive customer information, with stiff penalties, brand damage and crippling financial losses just some of the consequences.

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Sean Elliot: Five steps to keep the hackers out

Organisations are facing the perfect storm of “information everywhere” due to the boom in cloud adoption and mobile working. Below are some discussion points worth considering to help you protect your valuable data.

Educate your staff

Human error is responsible for the vast majority of information loss and theft. It is vital to develop robust policies that cover device, password and data management. It is important to ensure everyone within the company understands and complies with these policies. Hold regular security workshops or webinars to inform staff of recent threats and the correct processes to follow in the event of a cyber-attack or should a device become lost or stolen.

Use encryption

Encryption scrambles the data on your device, preventing unauthorised individuals from accessing sensitive information should your phone, tablet or laptop become lost or stolen. If you need to email sensitive information, you can also communicate via an encrypted connection, such as a virtual private network (VPN), which stops unwanted parties listening in to potentially sensitive communications. Unified communications tools such as Skype for Business use encryption, letting your team communicate securely from remote locations.

Invest in password management

Password protection is on the rise, so investing in enterprise-level password management software is a must. Using a secure and trusted platform throughout your company ensures your team don’t rely on one password for every site or weak passwords that are easily compromised.

Too many business owners take a laissez-faire approach to information security, which is extremely dangerous. Data is the most valuable business asset in the 21st century, and you must protect it at all costs to safeguard the integrity of your brand.

• Sean Elliot is the founder and managing director of Roslin-based IT services company Network ROI