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The channel and secure mobile working; plenty of opportunities

Jon Fielding, Managing Director, EMEA, Apricorn shares his views about the opportunities that are out there for those in the channel prepared to get involved with mobile security

The growth in remote working has had a striking impact on network infrastructure, device management and, of course, security. The need for new technologies to manage the considerable risks that have emerged has strengthened the case for both vendors and resellers to broaden their product portfolio. It’s a simple equation; businesses on the move need to protect their data. 

The risks loom large. In a recent Apricorn survey of UK organisations, almost all agreed they still had problems with mobile working, with a third admitting they’d already experienced a data loss or breach as a direct result of mobile working.

Busting myths

However, undermining common myths the biggest barrier to secure remote working is not careless employees who play fast and loose with passwords and devices. More than half (53%) of organisations say one of their three biggest problems is the complexity of the technology they had deployed to keep data safe.

More than half (54%) of organisations say their mobile workers are willing to comply with security measures; they just lack the necessary skills and technologies to do so.

If employees are not provided with the tools they need to easily keep to the rules, this leaves policies open to misinterpretation, and discourages adoption. It also often results in employees seeking workarounds and short-cuts in an attempt to claw back the productivity and efficiency they’ve lost.

Channel has a vital role

One difficulty is that many of the so-called 'all-in-one' security solutions from larger technology vendors have crucial tech such as encryption built in. This has driven the demand for encryption solutions within the channel because bundled encryption isn't as robust as pure-play encryption products and doesn't always meet security needs or compliance mandates.

As a result, the channel has a valuable role to play in helping organisations control, monitor and securely manage data when it’s outside of their central systems, without creating additional complexity. It’s an opportunity that is well worth prising open.

The bigger picture

Let’s look at the bigger picture. If an organisation audits the data it holds, how it’s used and who accesses it, and then maps the controls applied at each stage of the data journey, it will gain visibility of specific risks including those related to mobile working.

Policies and processes can then be updated or created to address any gaps and should cover the types of mobile devices and importantly removable hard drives and USB storage devices.

Implementing strong encryption as standard will lock information down in transit, meaning that if a device does get stolen or lost, the information on it will be unintelligible to anyone trying to access it.

This is important for meeting GDPR requirements: 30% of organisations that are subject to the regulation say they believe mobile working is the area in which they’re most likely to fail to comply.

Encryption is specifically mandated by Article 32 of the GDPR. No one wants to get hit by a whooping fine, be investigated by the ICO and possibly have their name sprayed all over the news headlines.

Strong mobile encryption is vital

Devices provided to mobile workers should include a straightforward corporate-standard mobile storage device featuring strong hardware encryption. The business can monitor and enforce their use by whitelisting on the IT infrastructure, blocking access from all non-approved media.

Mobility is one of the most significant driving forces for the IT sector, and the numbers working remotely will continue to rise. As more people look to access data from outside the corporate network, businesses are looking to vendors to provide the necessary tools and support to keep that data secure, wherever it may be.

This is a strong opportunity for channel resellers and distributors who can offer the necessary products that keep data locked down when it’s on the move and also wrap them around GDPR needs. These aren’t scare tactics; there are deep and genuine concerns about GDPR compliance and while many organisations have put a lot of effort into compliance there are always gaps, and secure encryption around mobile devices is certainly one of them.

This was last published in October 2018

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