The Privilege To Roaming Access Comes With Responsibilities

BeyondTrust, March 16th, 2011

We’re big fans of Apple’s iPad. How can you not like them?  Svelte, sleek and slick in execution.

And yet their increasing adoption – tested and deployed at 80% of Fortune 100 Companies, according to the Cupertino firm – doesn’t mean IT departments should get starry eyed when it comes to monitoring the security of such devices.

As USA Today report, the corporate adoption of new mobile devices can move only as fast as IT departments will allow.

While no is saying as much, the value proposition of using wireless devices to empower a remote sales force – medical device maker Medtronic has given more than 5,000 iPads to its sales reps and Mercedes-Benz put 400 iPads at dealerships to keep transactions on showroom floors – should not preclude IT groups from deciding what kinds of data can and can’t be accessed on the devices, among other issues, before allowing them on company networks.

Indeed, research by a US university scientist, has shown that Google Android apps (used on mobile devices) are sending user credentials (bar the password) in the clear.  Cellphones running the Android operating system fail to encrypt data sent to and from Facebook and Google Calendar, shortcomings that could jeopardize hundreds of millions of users privacy.

As we have said elsewhere on this blog, with so many potential points of entry to send data, so many different attack surfaces from which infection can happen, the shift in perspective required is to think less about building walls and more about establishing boundaries.

Employee at their desk or on the move, using iPad, SmartPhone, or PDA, access to the network should be the same.  The least amount of privileged access required for people to do their job well and no more.