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Once more into the breech


Our vulnerability is heightened by the increase in mobile working; hot-desking, working from trains, planes, internet cafes and a whole host of other public places. Organisations need to re-assess how they approach and manage the security of mobile workers and can’t rely on out of and date and unrealistic policy’s which simply state that ‘laptops should be kept on your person at all times.’ They can no longer afford to put the safety or their staff and the security of their data at risk. The channel is equipped with the skills to educate businesses on security management and has the opportunity to take advantage of this burgeoning market.   

Many businesses underestimate the importance of securing mobile devices, oblivious to the potential security risks that these devices can bring. Laptops and handheld devices can be easily lost and stolen by thieves who are attracted by the desirability of the device.  Taking a short break or leaving the laptop unmanned for even the shortest amount of time can lure opportunistic thieves. As well as leaving them unsecured in your car, which can present a real opportunity for a ‘smash and grab’ thief.  Security isn’t always top priority for mobile workers. The hassle of securing a laptop when you pop out for a coffee or taking your laptop with you wherever you go can often been seen as less than desirable, even if you’ve been told to do so by your employer. 

With data breaches consistently hitting news headlines it’s imperative that businesses take action now and invest in using more secure methods of data transfer. Individuals could also be at risk and could become targeted if they are openly displaying that they are carrying valuable IT equipment at all times. Data breaches are mainly caused by lost laptops and this seems to be an ongoing trend, most recently in the government sector. 

One ongoing issue with IT security is lack of education for the end users. This should be determined by the employer to ensure security outside the office is perceived to be of high importance by the mobile workforce and that realistic policies are implemented so staff actually pay attention to them.  It’s all very well just providing laptops to your mobile workforce and offering health and safety advice where necessary but it’s also important to think about the risk to the company.  

Insisting that employees ‘keep their laptops with them at all times’ is simply unrealistic. It also means you are potentially putting your employee in a vulnerable situation. The likely hood is that these instructions will also be ignored. It’s important that the organisation implements strict protocols on securing company data, and that it also deploys the right resources to enable mobile workers to take those security measures on board.

It doesn’t end there, as it’s also important to check that resources are sufficient and work effectively.  If you’ve issued a laptop security cable, for example, is it actually being used?  A recent survey from Autosafe International found that in 56 laptops there were as many as 37 different security slots proving there is no such thing as a standard size, meaning that some security locks on the market simply don’t fit.

Laptop cables find themselves hidden away in desk draws because users can’t get them to fit their laptop.  Instead of doing something about it, users seem content not to bother.

Technologies exist to limit the damage once a laptop has been taken but it would cost a company far less in time and money if thefts could be avoided in the first place.  Often the simplest safety measures are the most effective.

The channel should be actively advising organisations of the best way to shield users from mobile attacks as well as educating the market on the best ways of securing the growing number of business-critical mobile devices to help protect sensitive corporate data. There are a whole host of products on today’s market that the channel can offer such as: Laptop security cables, safes for transporting laptops in cars and safes for securing laptops in the home.

For the IT reseller community there is an obvious sales opportunity to be exploited. The mobile working market has boomed over the last few years and, according to recent research, the number of staff now classified as mobile workers in UK SMEs has now reached around 50%.  Resellers need to be arming their customers with additional security products to support mobile workers in this growing market and one that shows no sign of decline. For the channel to truly capitalise on the growing security market and stand out from the competition it’s time for them to think beyond IT.


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