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Password and data leakages raise concerns

Whether or not organizations embrace bring-your-own-device (BYOD), enterprise mobility creates a unique set of implications for mobile device security.

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Password and data leakages raise concerns

byod, password, security


Whether or not organizations embrace bring-your-own-device (BYOD), enterprise mobility creates a unique set of implications for mobile device security. Challenges to secure passwords and data can be overcome, however. For example, an organization seeking to leverage mobility can deploy devices to mitigate some of the challenges created from managing personally-owned devices. This type of approach requires policy creation and considerations from management. Common questions to consider are whether employees should be able to access social networks from these devices, if password policies should be enforced and whether data should be encryped.

Addressing mobile device security hurdles

A recent ITBusinessEdge article discussed some of the challenges associated with BYOD and other mobility trends. One of the article's key points is that foregoing a mobile device management (MDM) solution limits security.

"Considering that the typical tablet is the nexus of its owner's communications and collaboration, the danger is not inconsiderable," the article stated. "Just to name a few: social networking accounts, email messages, corporate calendars, contact list, bookmarks to important work portals, access to online storage accounts, the list goes on."

The potential risk for employees accessing social network and other accounts on devices that hold sensitive company data was recently highlighted by a spree of website security breaches. Social media site Formspring recently suffered a password security breach, leaving 420,000 password hashes potential compromised.

While security breaches such as Formspring's may not appear to affect businesses, the number of employees who use the same passwords for social network and employee logins could be placing company data at risk. Microsoft Account Group Manager Eric Doerr recently assessed the prevalence of using the same password across multiple sites.

"You’d be surprised how often the lists – especially the publicly posted ones – are complete garbage with zero matches," Doerr wrote in a blog post. "But sometimes there are hits - on average, we see successful password matches of around 20 percent of matching usernames."

Doerr didn't even get into social engineering hacking, which uses targeted attacks to trick users into downloading malware. To manage these risks, companies are encouraged to require employees to choose strong passwords. Others request that employees change their passwords frequently. MDM solftware can be used to enforce compliance with these policies and protect corporate data.

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