Smart wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets have emerged as a standard toolset of any corporation or government organization for performing every day work – let it be email correspondence, document management or just plain old telephone conversation. The advancements in the field of mobile computing now enable us to carry a powerful, always connected computer in our pockets. With these devices we can increasingly perform those functions that previously were only possible on an office workstation. The trend is clear and demonstrated by the decline of PC sales – more and more work is done using smart devices and on the move.
This trend has not gone unnoticed by cyber criminals and nation-state espionage agencies.
This trend has not gone unnoticed by cyber criminals and nation-state espionage agencies. Workstations in closed and firewalled corporate networks can be well managed as the location is more or less fixed and the network is relatively static. BYOD and corporate-issued mobile devices are a different story altogether. Those devices are communicating on the move and many times through unsecure communication channels (such as open Wi-Fi hotspots). Smartphones lagging behind security updates and local protection implementation can be exploited for extracting organization’s critical information. Unnecessarily relaxed security configurations can cause a lost device to become a major organizational security incident.
This could happen, for example, when a lost device leaks corporate data due to a weak device passcode. Unencrypted communications, in turn, can be eavesdropped to gain information on business matters and even governmental level conversations as near history has demonstrated. Or perhaps unsecure communications lets someone to hijack the connection in order to plant malware onto users’ devices. Malware infections can then leak user behavior and data to malicious third parties without the user’s consent.
These risks, having already been taken into control in the largely static world of PCs and laptops, are now re-emerging with mobile devices and mobile users. And the challenge is different than before due to the fact that mobile devices travel with the users 24/7 and everywhere.
As the degree of mobility arises, so does the need for new and innovative security products that protect the user.
The awareness and the need for mobile security have been on a steep increase during the past couple of years. This is happening especially in the field of public security where government officials have the need to handle classified information in a mobile environment to drive the productivity. As the degree of mobility arises, so does the need for new and innovative security products that protect the user. However, protection alone is not enough – the security tools and products also need to retain the ease of use and keep the information accessible. Ease of use and accessibility are the essential cornerstones of the mobile way of working.
We at Bittium believe that the Finnish world-class expertise in cyber security combined with our practical way of thinking enables us as a nation to produce new kind of solutions that can transform the mobile environment into a controlled operational zone. A zone that is still mobile and easy to use.
Jarkko Nabb, Senior Specialist, Bittium