Mobility

CIO Jury: Mobile device as security risk

Lockdown looming for smart phones and PDAs...

Mobile access is continuing to cause security headaches for organisations because of the increasing range and sophistication of mobile devices now used by employees, according to leading IT bosses.

All 12 of silicon.com's CIO Jury IT user panel said they are looking at more sophisticated mobile device management and security technologies for locking down and securing corporate data access across the range of mobiles, smart phones, PDAs and other devices used by staff.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, CTO at Manpower, said: "As mobile devices become more widespread with higher functionality their criticality is increasing. Securing access and information becomes more crucial - as does ensuring their effectiveness when people come to rely on them more and more."

Online insurance company eSure already limits the range of mobile devices available for staff and is about to make available corporate USB memory sticks with biometric authentication.

Mark Foulsham, IT director at eSure, said: "The difficulty is to ensure that unauthorised devices do not connect and to help achieve this we are piloting a security monitoring product called Sanctuary by Securewave."

Richard Steel, head of ICT at the London Borough of Newham, said: "Technologies like BitLocker [the drive encryption feature in Microsoft's forthcoming Vista release] are key as we increasingly deploy mobile devices for sensitive business applications, and not just calendar, contacts and email."

The key to managing and securing mobile devices is some form of standardisation, according to John Hemingway, CIO at Sheffield Hallam University.

He said: "The diversity inherent in an unmanaged approach is too costly and too resource intensive."

But technology is only part of the battle. John Odell, group IT director at the BBA Group, said: "We always keep abreast of security developments in this area and implement any that are affordable and effective. But it's 80 per cent education, education, education."

David Supple, director of IT and creative services at Ecotec, added: "It becomes a difficult battle when you have two fronts - one in the office and one out in the field - made all the more difficult by users struggling to see the benefits of clamping down on their security."

Today's CIO Jury was…

Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
Chris Broad, head of IS & technology, UK Atomic Energy Authority
Kirk Downey, CTO, Centrica
Kevin Fitzpatrick, CTO, Manpower
Mark Foulsham, IT director, eSure
John Hemingway, CIO, Sheffield Hallam University
John Odell, group IT director, BBA Group
Peter Pedersen, CTO, Blue Square
> Andy Pepper, director of business IS, Tetley
Jacques Rene, CTO, Airclaims
Richard Steel, head of ICT, London Borough of Newham
David Supple, director of IT and creative services, Ecotec

Want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury and have your say on the hot issues for IT departments? If you are a CIO, CTO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

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