Mobile PCs are creating new opportunities and transforming the way companies do business. When it comes to technology, though, virtually every innovation is a double-edged sword that comes with a new risk for every new benefit, creating a challenge—how to embrace emerging technologies while also addressing the unique security concerns they introduce.
The Tail Wags the Dog
Not so long ago, organizations made all of the IT decisions, and users were simply issued computers and expected to muddle through with the tools provided. But a revolution has occurred over the past couple years, flipping that model upside down. Welcome to the consumerization of IT.
Consumerization brings the company some cost benefits, and it is simpler and more convenient for users to rely on one computer rather than juggling separate devices for work and personal use. From a business and security perspective, however, this revolution has opened something of a Pandora's box.
When the business called the shots, there was some degree of uniformity, and it was easier to focus on configuring and protecting the small subset of technologies that IT had chosen and deployed. The new environment, though, leaves companies with an eclectic collection of devices to manage and maintain.
Attackers are opportunistic. They watch trends in technology to identify emerging targets, staying a step ahead of security awareness or tools that might protect the new technologies. The combination of bring-your-own-device infrastructures and connecting from public Wi-Fi hotspots creates an opportunity that attackers can exploit to infect your endpoint systems and compromise your data.
IT without Walls
The world's workforce is evolving, becoming mobile at a rapid clip. It is estimated that 1.19 billion workers—or more than one-third of the global workforce—will be mobile by 2013.
Mobile computing allows users to be flexible—out and about, yet still connected and accessible. Coffee shops, fast-food chains, hotels, and other retail establishments provide free wireless networks on nearly every corner, enabling users to receive and respond to email, as well as connect with Web-based data and applications.
There are advantages to allowing employees to work from their personal laptops, but there are also added concerns. Even though the user owns the endpoint PC, the organization has to be able to enforce basic security policies and best practices, and put tools in place that offer the same sort of protection as on a company-issued laptop.
Retail and commercial businesses that offer free Wi-Fi networks are doing so to attract customers, and they give those customers incentives to stay longer—and hopefully spend more money. These businesses are not interested in making the free network any more complex or secure than necessary, which means the burden for protecting the laptop lies with the user—and ultimately with the organization he or she works for.
With the right mix of technologies, it is possible to connect securely and be productive from anywhere. That may not seem so terrific when a customer calls during your child's birthday party on the weekend. But it's a lifesaver when you're able to log in from the living room and make critical changes to a presentation —helping your company win a big contract.
Managing Risk with a Distributed Workforce
Symantec.cloud services provide a variety of benefits to help manage security and keep systems protected for an increasingly remote and distributed workforce. You can rely on industry-leading Symantec services, like Endpoint Protection.cloud, Email Security.cloud, and Web Security.cloud—hosted over the Internet in Symantec's data centers—to provide you with the protection and peace of mind you need. Here are some additional reasons to go with Symantec's cloud.
- Symantec hosts and maintains the hardware and software infrastructure of Symantec.cloud services, so you won't need to worry about keeping the systems patched or upgrading to the latest versions.
- Rather than providing the staff and resources to manage and maintain the necessary security tools, you are free to focus on your business and let the skilled professionals at Symantec do the dirty work. Along with those expert resources, you also get guaranteed reliability and a technical support staff to answer your questions.
- The Symantec.cloud model of paying per user, per month means you'll pay only for the services and protection you need. At the same time, that structure makes it very easy to scale up as your needs change without having to expand your infrastructure or hire more staff to manage it.
For flexible, scalable, cost-effective protection for your distributed workforce, check out Symantec.cloud services.
This story, "Cut the Cord without Compromising Security" was originally published by BrandPost.