Mobility and Social Media: Embrace and Respond

As technologies advance and converge, they provide an increasingly mobile workforce with seemingly endless ways to connect and interact with colleagues, customers and clients. But at what risk?

Embrace and respond to mobility, social media trends

It will behoove you and your organization to recognize that mobility and social media are here to stay. Instead of banning mobile devices and social networking sites at work, you can mitigate the risks by simultaneously taking steps to safeguard your company's most critical access points and information assets, while creating a culture of risk awareness and compliance. The first step is to identify the key access points that must be secured. These will most likely be associated with access to primary information assets such as intellectual property, customer lists or corporate email traffic. Once these are identified, you can implement a data leakage prevention program.  On the process front, your organization should make a distinction between what is available on mobile devices versus what can be accessed from a secure location. The right people should be permitted to obtain the data they need where and when they need it without unnecessarily exposing themselves to any data risk.

Next, access to sensitive data, mobile or otherwise, should be restricted on a "need to access" basis. You'll want to establish protocols requiring that data stewards be notified of access to critical data. In terms of your people, those with access to sensitive information should be well briefed about the reasons data security is essential, as well as educated about the basics, such as safeguarding and regularly updating passwords. Implement processes to develop awareness and ensure compliance with security requirements.

As for technology, it's worth evaluating the full range of data leakage prevention tools. Such tools include firewalls and related intrusion prevention software, data encryption and products that inspect content while it's in transit or at rest. As it relates to mobility, remote wiping devices and the ability to quickly disable access are two essential measures to limit the damage of a lost or stolen device. The best companies will also be proactive, seeking to detect and mitigate minor issues before they become major incidents.

This article was originally published on 02-02-2011
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