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Workspaces are ill prepared for the cyber threats of tomorrow

Blog

The vision of a fully mobile workforce – able to work anytime, anywhere, and on any device – has been the holy grail of the tech-savvy corporate workplace for years, particularly here at Dimension Data. Promising innumerable advantages for employees and employers alike, it seems like technology is finally giving us the tools to work the way that suits us best. So why are most of us still chained to our desks and working by standards devised in a pre-digital age?

The answer is simple: It’s a worrying lack of security that is keeping us this way.

In a more threatening international cybercrime landscape than ever before, even the tiniest security flaws can spell the end for any business, large or small. Today’s average tech user makes use of 4 separate connected devices during the workday (predicted to rise to 5 devices by 2020). With so many access points travelling far and wide, and all being used to access work-related data and apps, it’s little wonder that CTOs and CIOs experience many sleepless nights fretting over the added security risk that every new connected device represents. The upswing of ransomware is testament that the edge of your network is now the device; the new entry point for cybercriminals.

So, what takes precedence in the careful CIO’s book? Should mobility be kept to a minimum in the name of security, or should security be sacrificed in pursuit of mobility? Unfortunately, neither of these solutions will serve an organisation well for very long.

Work-life balance is one of the most highly desirable traits in an employer, especially for anyone under the age of 35  ?  a group that is likely to make up 50% of the tech workforce by 2025. It’s safe to say that no organisation hoping to attract and retain top tech minds in the coming years, can afford to ignore how appealing mobility is to the modern workforce.

But giving these same employees unfettered permission to work on a multitude of different devices, some with extremely poor protections against cybercrime, is practically an invitation for phishing and malware.

Neither security nor flexibility can be ignored. They will need to work together at all levels of the organisation, to strengthen and enable one another as a seamless unit, to give both the enterprise and its employees the perfect conditions to flourish. IT decision makers have an uphill battle ahead of them, but the good news is that by implementing strong security policies and emphasising user education as a preventative measure, the battle is already half won.

When configuring business apps for company-wide mobile use, security-by-design must be the ultimate deciding factor.

Work applications must be developed using well-trusted tools that have no known vulnerabilities and come from suppliers with a good track record in security. At the same time, employee education and compliance will be more necessary than ever to ensure safety against social engineering attacks (estimated to be the delivery method of choice for up to 97% of all malware).

How can organisations protect their mobile workforce?

  1. Insist that all work-related devices are secured with endpoint tools and policy (protecting the device, application and data)
  2. User adoption and education: Keep employees updated on the latest cybercrime trends

The most important thing to remember is that balance is everything. The key lies in realising that best practices for mobile security cannot be the sole responsibility of the CIO, or even the entire IT department.

Only with the cooperation of every mobile employee, supported by an IT department dedicated to secure mobile innovation, can an organisation truly reap the rewards of mobility.

Visit our website to learn more about workspaces for tomorrow, and how Dimension Data can help accelerate your digital business both effectively and securely.

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