Mobile Security 101: An Executive Guide to Mobile Security

Critical enterprise information is leaking onto mobile devices whose risk of loss or theft is much higher than it is for PCs at the office.

Are there other risks I should watch out for?

A new generation of data storage devices has created new security risks. USB “thumb” drives, iPods, recordable CDs and DVDs, and the iPod (with iTunes’ Enable Disk Mode feature) all make it easy for employees to copy data from a secured device to an unsecured medium that’s easily hidden, lost or stolen. Vendors are only starting to extend protection such as encryption and password protection to these inexpensive media, leaving a big hole in your protection.

Until your software vendors have appropriate tools to cover these risks, you may need to set policies banning their use, and discouraging their use by, for example, configuring your computers not to support USB storage devices and not supporting writable media. An easy step is not to buy computers with writable CD or DVD drives. Blocking the use of USB storage devices is harder, typically requiring adjustments to the Windows XP registry. (The forthcoming Windows Vista Server is expected to let you set such USB usage permissions as policies that can be enforced across all Vista clients.) One sure way to block their use is to pour glue in the USB ports, but that also means your users can’t connect other external USB components such as mice or keyboards.

What does mobile security cost to implement?

Costs vary based on what you’re protecting and on the number of seats being protected, but you can expect to spend between $US50 and $US100 per device to bring in encryption, password management and other security management features onto laptops — assuming you have a management platform already in place for your PCs. You’ll also pay more for antimalware licenses if you’re not already deploying them on your laptops. For example, the Lincoln Health System Network of hospitals estimates that encryption costs about $US60 per laptop, while the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory spends about $US75 each. (The lab spends an additional $US100 per laptop using hardware-based second-factor authentication tokens.) Maintenance and ongoing licensing costs typically are about 25 percent of the license cost. Services such as the Computrace tracking service that can lock down or wipe the contents of missing laptops cost about $US100 per year per laptop.

Costs of managing handhelds vary considerably. While the software typically runs $US20 to $US50 per device, many handhelds cannot be remotely managed, so you have to account for the hands-on IT installation and update costs, which depend on how you provision such help-desk and support services and how diligently you update your mobile devices. For handheld devices that can be managed with your existing management tools, the costs typically match those for your PCs.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smartphonenotebookspdalaptop securitymobilityexec series 101mobile securitysecurty

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?