-Sajan Paul, Director, Systems Engineering, India and SAARC Juniper Networks
It is no surprise that employees are becoming more mobile to improve their productivity. More than ever, employees are using their mobile devices – be it in the form of smartphones or tablets – to work from wherever they are and whenever they want. They use these devices to gather quick and easy access to the information and applications they need to do their jobs effectively. As more and more companies are giving employees the freedom to bring their own devices to work, the need to mitigate risk and ensure that company assets are protected has never been so crucial.
The IT infrastructure of the current workplace is complex and requires adherence to the highest standards for performance and uptime. People are accessing data wirelessly through various devices across multiple locations. It is not just employees who need access to the wireless network, third party partners such as vendors and customers also require access. This poses a challenge for CIOs who have to deal with the complexity of securing the network while at the same time, providing easy access.
Every new wireless device brings with it the possibility of malware, viruses and other programs that could damage or disrupt the corporate network. In fact, a recent study by Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center shows the rapid growth and evolution of mobile malware into a profitable business for attackers. The research found mobile malware threats growing at a rapid rate of 614 percent to 276,259 total malicious apps, demonstrating an exponentially higher cyber criminal interest in exploiting mobile devices. Thus, for all the malicious threats flying around today, a proper security and device management solution must be implemented in order to ensure that sensitive data residing on the network is not compromised. Some of the components that enterprises must keep in mind while implementing a mobile security solution are:
• On-device anti-malware to protect against malicious applications, spyware, infected SD cards and malware-based attacks to the device
• On-device firewall to protect device interfaces
• SSL/VPN clients to effortlessly protect data in transit, and to ensure secure and appropriate network access and authorization
• Centralized remote locate, track, lock, wipe, backup and restore facilities for lost and stolen devices
• Centralized administration to enforce and report on security policies across the entire mobile device population
• Support for all major mobile platforms, including; Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, Apple iOS, Microsoft Windows Mobile, and Nokia Symbian
• Device monitor and control, such as the monitoring of messaging and control of installed applications
• A solution that integrates with network-based technologies, such as network access control (NAC), to ensure the security posture of mobile devices and determine appropriate access rights prior to allowing access to corporate resources
• Management capabilities to enforce security policies, such as mandating the use of PINs/passcodes
• Ability for an administrator to monitor device activity for data leakage and inappropriate use
• Northbound API integration with well known MDM solution providers for heterogeneous environment
• Enforcement capability with federated perimeter firewalls for policy enforcement
By implementing the right BYOD policies, CIOs can confidently grant the employees and third parties easy access to the company’s network, without any concerns of being vulnerable to risk. This benefits both the CIO and the enterprise by increasing productivity and operational efficiency as well as reducing OPEX. When CIOs deploy a robust network that’s capable of securing everything from the device to the core, that not only integrates but enables mobility at scale, plus delivers better communication, collaboration, and productivity, they create a win-win situation for enterprise and employee alike.