What are we doing about off-network mobile devices at workplace?
Thanks to everything that’s currently going on in the world, cyber security is one of the top national and commercial priorities. Hence robust cyber security infrastructure in most organisations today is as normal as a lock on the door. The global cyber security market has been growing rapidly since 2017 and according to latest predictions is expected to more than triple by 2030 reaching just over $500 billion in value.
Most likely, the current corporate cyber security challenges focus on remote working, IoT attacks, new 5G applications, blockchain and cryptocurrency attacks, and phishing scams. But as ever, I’m here to talk about mobile device security. Specifically, where do mobile devices feature in corporate cyber security infrastructure?
With our world being increasingly on-the-go, mobile devices are steadily becoming a number one opportunity for hackers and bad actors to capitalise on. It’s already been recognised that most companies struggle to implement the same security standards to staff mobile devices as they do for their computers. And this is for the work devices only. Thanks to hybrid working, the growth of BYOD devices at our workplace is exponential. In 2021, a whopping 87% of businesses relied on their employees to use their personal mobile devices to access company apps.
I encourage to ask your cyber security team today – what are we doing about off-network or personal mobile devices, including countless smart wearables, that people are bringing to the offices? Apart from training and awareness with the objective to foster an overall secure and safe office culture, organisations do virtually nothing else to meaningfully address cyber security threats to off-network mobile devices.
From technology perspective, there are two commercially available solutions to manage and monitor personal mobile devices at workplaces. In addition to those, there are also radio jamming and IMSI grabbing technologies but those require government clearance and are used in public security operations only.
- Indoor positioning or locationing technologies – There are only a handful of companies in the world who develop and manufacture such technology that detects mobile devices inside large buildings where GPS and other satellite systems lack the capability. This technology is visually very impressive showing the exact location of a mobile phone or any other device in the office. The main commercial downside of this tech is that it requires hardware installations, which at large organisations can be complex and commercially not viable.
- Device registration and monitoring software – This is a brand-new approach to mobile device security designed to monitor any security breaches and attacks to organisations via personal or off-network devices. The software is employee-inclusive and ideal for hybrid working, as it can be activated whilst working in the office or from home. This technology is designed to be fully compliant with GDPR and other privacy laws as it grabs no content and monitors only the device activity that organisation considers to be a high-risk threat to their business.
I have been focusing a lot on personal device surveillance and compliance in the financial sector, but BFSI is not unique to the cyber security challenges. Other most notable cyber security drivers are IT/telecoms, healthcare, manufacturing, and obviously governments. As the world has basically gone digital, cyber threats affect us all, both big conglomerates and SMEs, and across all sectors.
One inside joke goes that cyber security is like an onion – there are layers, and at some point, you start to cry. My sincere hope here is that the mobile security layer for both work and personal mobile devices is not going to be a reactive cry from organisations after the damage has been done.
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