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Addressing Security Risks of Mobile Computing

Businesses, institutional users and government agencies have all begun to embrace the increased productivity and enhanced capabilities that rugged tablet PCs provide.  But the growing trend of mobile computing does not come without security risks.  As with any computing solution, tablet PCs are exposed to software threats.  But they also come with the additional security concern of theft or accidental loss where unscrupulous individuals can gain access to sensitive data.  That is why IT departments must address potential security concerns before they become problematic. 

The list of conceivable dangers faced by mobile computing users are many.  They include:

  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Stolen or lost hardware
  • Phishing schemes
  • Spam
  • Insecure or malicious applications
  • Unsecured Wi-Fi connections

rugged tablet pc securityIT departments are opening up their networks to more mobile users than ever before so the need for security measures is at the forefront of today's technology issues.  And though hackers have yet to deploy large scale attacks against mobile platforms, you can be assured they are coming.  

Policy

The first step in managing security threats and protecting valuable data is to implement IT policies specific to mobile devices and remote usage.  While IT policies are abundant for desktop PCs, many companies and institutions have yet to address mobile computing in their security protocols.  But the time to implement change is now, before the threats become reality.

Mobile security policies should address:

  • Necessary software requirements that include security programs
  • Password requirements with timelines for changes.  Users of more sensitive data should be required to change passwords more frequently
  • Licensing and other registration needs
  • Data back-up plans
  • Mobile management platforms

A proactive approach to managing security risks to an organization's rugged tablet PC users should also include upfront education of mobile users as well as related personnel to ensure policies are well-established and understood. 

Configuration

A key asset in the war against security threats to rugged table PCs and other mobile platforms is the implementation of security configurations or device profiles.  By utilizing a third-party device management platform IT departments can ensure configuration consistency throughout multiple platforms while locking down any known vulnerabilities for mobile users.  Specifying details about mail servers, VPN settings, network authentication, directories and certificates will also further limit potentially damaging implications in the future.  IT managers may also decide to restrict access to some mobile users or specific groups, depending on usage requirements. 

Application Restrictions


One of the biggest security risks to mobile computing is that of harmful applications installed on rugged tablet PCs or other mobile devices.  It is essential to restrict application installation for these users to those required for business purposes before wide spread attacks via malicious software gain a foothold.  In addition to managing risks, IT department can utilize such restrictions to help guide employees to those applications best suited for their computing needs.  By applying these measures employees will save valuable time in choosing software for their mobile computing needs while limiting threats to valuable data stored on those devices as well as company networks. 

Security for mobile devices has not yet become a widespread concern but the time is now to add protocols to protect rugged tablet PCs and the networks they access from potential risks.  By taking steps such as adding mobile computing to IT policies, setting configurations and device profiles and restricting application installations IT departments can get ahead of the security curve to protect both their devices and their networks.

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