This article was published on October 25, 2017

Cybersecurity in the age of mobile computing

Cybersecurity in the age of mobile computing
George Beall
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George Beall

As enterprise data centers evolve, networking also expands to unknown regions. Bring your own device (BYOD) policies are now complaint across government and corporate sectors. Entities of data have the agility to move from local and remote storage to cloud-based access points. Change in technology is inevitable and mobile computing infrastructure must be scalable, not proprietary.

However, the more scalable infrastructures become, mobile computing presents new challenges. Risk in security continues to expand at a rapid rate as mobile data becomes more susceptible to being maliciously compromised.

We generate more data than ever before; the number that’s often referenced is 2.5 quintillion bytes per day, and all of that data is vulnerable. Hackers can easily uncover weak passwords. Lost mobile devices that aren’t password protected can become a goldmine of personal information for the people who find them, giving them access to financial accounts and all the money contained within.

Onboard GPS chips giveaway individuals’ locations within file metadata. Plus we voluntarily broadcast our personal information on social media channels, sometimes several at once, so that everyone knows where we are and what we’re doing 24 hours a day. Clearly, better security is a must!

Fortunately, cybersecurity in the age of mobile computing is a growing field: There’s a growing focus on tightening the vulnerabilities and weaknesses in existing systems, and measures to make sensitive data more secure are being implemented. Read on to learn about the current cybersecurity landscape.

What’s behind vulnerable data?

If data is insecure enough for hackers to get at it, the problem must lie with the hardware, right? Well, not always. What about the software? Again, that’s not always the problem either.

In fact, according to the Cybersecurity Trends 2017 Spotlight Report, the three main causes of security breaches are related to either money or personnel: unskilled employees, not enough money to spend on cybersecurity measures, and employees that are unaware of proper security measures. These are huge, and they’ve led to more than half of all companies feeling moderately or not at all confident in the security of their data.

Adjustments in budget allocations can help, of course; throwing more money at the problem will usually lead to some improvement. However, the key focus for the immediate future is in training of current employees to keep data secure, along with bringing in highly skilled new employees to help detect and handle threats to sensitive information.

Encryption, encryption, encryption

Another big area of focus in the cybersecurity field is stronger encryption of data. Encryption refers to the encoding of data into a form that’s unreadable to anyone without the corresponding encryption key, which makes the data readable again. Specifically, there’s been a move from the old method of encrypting large blocks of data and even entire devices as one unit to encrypting small files individually, which makes them harder to breach.

Keeping encryption keys well protected is also an essential part of stronger encryption measures. Richard Blech, the CEO of Secure Channels, Inc., affirms this. “Encryption key management is paramount in today’s cybersecurity,” he explains. “These keys need to be not only strong and effective — they need to be easy to access, easy to change, and easy to use. This is a main aspect of our work at Secure Channels and throughout the cybersecurity industry, as sensitive data is in continual need of protection from hackers.”

Good security begins at home 

For small businesses, the whole idea of cybersecurity can seem overwhelming, and even unnecessary: who would want to steal your information? However, there are several simple things you can do to ensure that your data isn’t compromised. These include using strong and unique passwords, password protecting everything, using your smartphone’s location services only when necessary, and being conservative with what you share on social media.

Additionally, it’s a smart idea to continually remind your employees (and yourself) to view any links and attachments sent via email with a high degree of skepticism, as they may contain malware that will put your security at risk. In general, treating all connected interactions as potentially harmful can go a long way in keeping your information safe.

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