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PDA and Smart Phone – Business Security Impact

October 3rd, 2006

Regardless how that connection is accomplished, once a mobile device is connected to an enterprise resource, it does become an integral part of your company network. These mobile devices can boost business productivity, by providing anytime / anywhere access to corporate data and enterprise applications. Employees find it easier to get work done, even from locations that otherwise might impose unproductive down-time.

However those benefits are accompanied by new challenges. Every mobile endpoint that is used for business requires some degree of IT management. For example, company owned devices must be inventoried, provisioned and tracked. Every mobile device that accesses your company network and contains business data, including PDA’s and smart phones owned by employees, must be secured to prevent loss or compromise of data.

Many companies make the mistake of ignoring PDA’s and smart phones. They may realize that employees buy mobile devices on their own, but may take the view that those devices are not business computers, hence not requiring IT supervision.

The problem with burying your head in the sand is that PDA’s and smart phones are used for business, creating hidden risks that may go unnoticed until a security compromise occurs.

For instance, how many of us accidentally leave a phone or PDA in a public location, like a taxi, plane or restaurant? How many of us forward company email to a personal mailbox that we then check over an unsecured public wireless hotspot?

These situations are actually quite common and can expose confidential company data.

Conclusion

Of course there are many security measures that can be used to secure mobile devices, but without company guidance many workers are either unaware of these risks or unwilling to spend the time or money to spend their own money to secure their own devices.

Hence companies are better off acknowledging business use of mobile devices, educating workforces about mobile threats and deploying measures to mitigate the associated business risk.

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