Will The Rise Of Tablets Affect Security Measures In The Workplace?

With unit sales of smartphones and tablets eclipsing those of desktop and notebook PCs, cybercriminals will continue setting their sights on mobile, and increased mobile Internet use will continue exacerbating security and data breach issues in the workplace.

The issues of “BYOD” or Bring Your Own Device to work is plaguing IT managers everywhere. While your company’s IT guy has a relative hold on all the work laptops and desktops, and even some of the mobiles, he is quickly losing control when you bring your new Droid and connect it to the corporate network.  Now he has to worry if that last app you downloaded will infect the network when you plug your device into the company’s PC to update or sync something.

A study by ESET/Harris Interactive shows less than 10% of people using their own tablets for work auto lock them and people were more security-savvy about their smartphones, with 25% using autolock.

McAfee Labs™ points out today’s tablets are more powerful than notebooks were just a few years ago. Although their lack of real keyboards makes them unsuitable for many tasks (editing texts, programming, and design), they are very suitable for browsing the Web, which today is a primary source of malware.

Tablets mainly differ in the size of the screen of a mobile phone, but they share the same software, operating systems, and processors so their security concerns are nearly identical. About the only difference is that some tablets can use USB devices, which increases the attack surface of such devices.

And because like our mobile phone, tablets tend to be portable and one of our most personal computing devices, you need to take steps to protect it. Many of the best practices you use on your computer can be transferred to your tablet.

To help ensure that your tablet is protected, you should:

  • Always password protect your device and set it to auto-lock after a certain period of time to increase your mobile security
  • Never leave your tablet unattended in a public place
  • Don’t click on links on emails and text messages from people you don’t know
  • Even if you know the company or person, use a browser to search for a link or use the company’s official app to navigate to the site
  • Always double-check the web address of a site when doing a search on your mobile phone.
  • If you use online banking and shopping sites, always log out and don’t select the “remember me” function
  • Before downloading a third-party app, check other users’ reviews to see if it is safe, and read the app’s privacy policy to make sure that it is not sharing your personal information

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures