Lightweight VPNs Can Make Mobile Security Easy

Is your business safe? If you have mobile workers, you may be vulnerable. Small business employees are more mobile than ever before. They are able to connect to the company’s network remotely, but they must do so securely, so that they can keep their data private. Thanks to innovative network technologies, they can now connect to the office without worrying that their data is being intercepted. Tablet computers, notebooks and smartphones can all take advantage of these technologies.

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Small businesses have reason to be concerned about security. Research from security company Symantec has revealed that they are a primary target for intruders. Hackers know that many small businesses lack the money to invest in adequate security solutions. They also lack the expertise to create effective security policies, and to configure and maintain complicated security equipment. This creates many opportunities or hackers to exploit these companies. Perhaps this is why small businesses are so easily targeted; since the beginning of 2010, four in ten targeted attacks have targeted small and medium-sized businesses. Only 28% of them targeted larger companies.

Mobile computing has been a useful target vector for hackers, who know that traffic can be intercepted. Freely available tools have been released that enable hackers to spy on traffic sent over WiFi networks, for example, intercepting passwords and emails. The ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend has exacerbated this problem, creating a patchwork environment of different devices, over which IT managers do not always have much control.
Traditionally, virtual private networks (VPNs) have been used to secure communications. These worked well on notebook computers, but were difficult to implement on smartphone and other devices. Thanks to new innovations, VPNs have made it to the smart phone. Thanks to modern solutions such as EasyVPN, VPN access can be easily given to smartphone and tablet users.

Administrators can set up a device on the EasyVPN system, and the device they then use a lightweight protocol perfectly suited to mobile communications, which doesn’t need any additional application software installed on the client device. This makes it easy to set up mobile clients, regardless of their manufacturer or the operating system that they are running. Devices running Apple’s IoS and Google’s Android, which are the most popular devices for mobile phone and tablet users, can all be configured natively to support this technology. This decreases setup costs, and makes it easier for employees to connect their own mobile devices securely to the network themselves. This keeps employees happy, and lowers administrative costs for the IT department.

The smartphone, tablet device or notebook computer can connect with an office gateway using this technology to encrypt mobile communications, providing employees with access to critical information when they need it. Not only are all communications encrypted, but they are also forced to route through the office gateway, which makes it possible for the company to apply other security policies to mobile traffic. The office gateway serves as a guardian for the company’s network, stopping malicious or infected traffic from entering the company. This enables the company to prevent viruses and spam that might otherwise infect a network via a connection from a mobile device.
This EasyVPN technology makes it easy for companies to provide secure, private data sessions to mobile users, enabling employees to access company resources anytime, from anywhere. But companies must still put security policies in place to help mobile workers keep company data safe. There are some basic rules to follow.

Ensure that smartphones, tablets and notebooks are secure from theft. Do this by encrypting data stored on the device itself. Where possible, use software on mobile devices that segregates personal and company data. There are email and browser programs specifically designed to sandbox these different types of data.

Employee awareness and education is also a critical part of any mobile security strategy. Companies must inform employees about best security practice, such as not leaving notebooks, tablet computers and smartphones alone in public places. They must also understand that if they bring their own personal smartphones or tablet computers into the company and use them to store company data, the company must have control over that data. Some policies may allow companies to remotely reformat mobile devices when reported stolen, for example.
Use the tools and techniques outlined above to help mitigate the security problems that accompany mobile computing. This will help to keep your employees both safe and productive when on the road. Learn More