CIO Symmetry

Aug 3 2010   1:20PM GMT

Check your mobile security policies as smartphones, apps proliferate

Scot Petersen Scot Petersen Profile: Scot Petersen

For some firms that dole out smartphones to their employees, the mobile security policy might consist of remotely wiping the phone if it’s lost or stolen, or if the employee leaves the company. Other than that, users are left pretty much on their own.

That’s not enough, especially as smartphones and apps become smarter and more pervasive. It’s one thing for a company to provision its own smartphone. But many employees are bringing their own smartphones and doing company business on them — which some companies encourage, by the way, to cut down on cell, data plan and management costs.

Which makes last week’s news from the Black Hat conference all the more unnerving. Researchers announced that wallpaper apps on Android phones can collect and transmit data such as phone numbers and messages. In other cases, remote apps can be installed, which could be used to drop malicious payloads on to a phone.

Given the amount of work being down out of the palm of one’s hand these days, and even that mobile health care app stores are coming, the news is startling.

As with anything and security, enough is never enough. Checklists are a start, but which checklists are the right ones? For midmarket IT managers looking for some answers,’s sample mobile device management policies and templates is a good place to start.

I don’t want to spoil the fun or productivity that users are enjoying with iPhones, BlackBerrys and Androids, but if attention isn’t paid to them by IT security, then they will just become another access point into your networks.

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