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How Policy Will Shape Data Privacy in 2011
A brief overview of the changing landscape in data privacy and a look at how policymakers view the regulatory environment.
Establishing Sound Mobile Security Measures
With wireless technology continuing to evolve, more and more businesses are discovering the advantages of allowing employees to work remotely using laptop computers, cell phones and other wireless devices. Although there are a number of benefits from a business standpoint, the use of wireless devices also has the potential for costly, large-scale problems due to the risks associated with keeping transmitted and stored data secure.
High profile data breaches illustrate the often-vulnerable nature of protecting sensitive customer and employee information. Mobile "smishing", a type of phishing attack in which mobile phone users receive text messages containing the potential to download a Trojan Horse virus, also reflects the increasing threats to the security of wireless data.
Other sources of wireless data threats include WiFi spots with bogus network connections, unauthorized viewing of documents on a computer screen, and dishonest or disgruntled employees.
To avoid the repercussions of these scenarios, employees should always verify an establishment’s correct WiFi network connection and utilize privacy screen filters. Employers should have clear and documented HR policies in place that require thorough background checks, monitor employee behavior, and prohibit network access upon employment termination.
Diligent Work Habits are the Foundation of an Effective Wireless Data Policy
Along with general awareness regarding the risks of mobile devices, businesses and mobile device users can protect sensitive customer data by incorporating wireless data policy guidelines that address the following:
- Gathering the minimal amount of data necessary from customers required for your particular company’s business transactions.
- Utilizing firewalls and encrypting all data on laptop, cell phones, and mobile storage, such as flash drives.
- Continuous data back up.
- Ensuring that sensitive information is properly removed from mobile devices before disposing of them. Items must typically be wiped from the device instead of simply cleared or erased. Permanent data deletion usually requires several steps including removing the memory or subscriber identity module (SIM) card from the phone and clearing data from the mobile device’s contacts and other stored information. Contact the mobile device manufacturer for complete information on how to permanently delete information from the mobile device.
- Installation of a wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) that will help identify and locate attacks, rogue devices and network vulnerabilities in real time and permit both wired and wireless lockdown of wireless device connections.
- Server-based computing that allows the mobile device user to access applications or programs from any Web browser over the Internet without having to install the application on the mobile device.
Although the security threat to mobile devices is relatively mild today, this will not remain the case in the future. By outlining your business’s protocol for handling these threats, creating and implementing a comprehensive wireless data policy, and establishing appropriate mobile security measures your business can be better positioned to help prevent potential problems such as data leaks, malware, spyware and privacy breaches.
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