Managing Mobile Devices Connecting to the Cloud
As new innovations continue to fill the technology marketplace, a shift in how business and the IT consumer alike utilize technology is shaping the face of a more connected. We are becoming more streamlined in our day to day processes, thanks largely in part to the power of mobile computing. Computing technology available off the shelf is pound-for-pound, far more powerful and as such more sustainable, than ever before. Take into consideration the power of virtual computing and it would seem that the journey is just beginning.
Like a Lightning Bolt
Mobile devices are quite powerful. Take into consideration that most large enterprises haven’t done much in the way to overhaul the average workstation, many mobile gadgets rival and often surpass the power of these nearly legacy devices. This makes the beauty of the cloud all the more appealing. Existing workstations can use these services without breaking a sweat as can mobile devices with the appropriate applications, creating a dynamic working environment.
Of course, the most prevailing question that arises is, “What about security?” Across the board, this is always the biggest concern when new technology becomes adopted by a business.
Cloud computing, from a network infrastructure standpoint, can be a very secure solution to maintaining company information. When a workstation is accessing a cloud, whether a datacenter, application hosting service or a hybrid cloud, it should be done through a secured connection. Most companies should be using some form of connection based around TLS for these connections for the sake of security.
Doing it in the Office
Mobile applications will utilize the same techniques when accessing a cloud. However, there are addition concerns that arise with such implementation. A large majority of companies are in favor of allowing personal mobile devices in the workplace, which draw additional concerns. While these concerns are justified, there are techniques and practices that need to be observed when implementing these tools in the workplace.
As long as the cloud service is verifiably secure, the data and connection to the network will be secure. The device itself and the data flow between it and its destination are items that can still be compromised.
As such, there are procedures that should be followed by any business using mobile devices that connect to a cloud (or any network infrastructure):
- Bluetooth is a great technology allowing wireless connections to devices for added functionality. While Bluetooth is helping to keep travelers safer, it can open expose potential security risks. Bluetooth can be like an opened window on an otherwise secure network. Turn Bluetooth off whenever stationary, just in case.
- For companies that are adopting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) an assessment of employees’ devices should be performed before connecting it to the network. This can circumvent heartbreak in the event the user is unaware device is on its last limb. Making sure that Androids are not rooted, iPhones and iPads are not jailbroken etc., are crucial to maintain security as hacked device can leave loopholes for information to potentially be siphoned from the device.
- A data management program should be implemented. Sensitive company information can end up in unintended places when stored on an employee’s personal device. Just as an unattended phone can ruin a relationship after she reviews your text threads, attendants at a social gathering can accomplish the same feat in a similar situation. Ways to avoid such tragedies would be:
- Always create the most secure password possible for the device.
- Do not save sensitive information directly to the device – save this information on the company network.
- Manage conversation logs. When having a business based SMS conversation, bits of information contained in texts could be a concern. Delete or archive these messages in a safe place on a regular basis.
- Audit devices to make sure they meet compliance. Apps can be installed on the fly. Surprise inspections can help to ensure that an employee does not have an unapproved application that could compromise company data.
Cloud computing is going to continue to grow as more and more lend their success stories to public ears. Make sure there is a solid foundation for security practices and these technologies can take a business to new heights. A mobile workforce is a highly beneficial feature to any business so long as the foundation is well developed. Stay ahead of the curve by keeping an open mind to new solutions.
By Deney Dentel
Deney serves as CEO for Nordisk Systems, Inc. Nordisk Systems specializes in IBM Cloud computing services provider supplies the data center, computing infrastructure, and management of these assets. Nordisk Systems makes cloud computing easy. They can also offer their customers storage, server, desktop, and even network virtualization solutions. Nordisk has expertise in VMware, KVM, Xen, Hyper-V and especially PowerVM.