Data Security for Remote Workers
It seems every week there’s another news story about a mobile storage device being a central part of a security breach. Whether that’s a worker losing an unencrypted device, or, as in the case of the Flame malware, actually used as part of the attack.
These types of incidents show that data security is no longer just about defending the corporate perimeter: where the network is trusted and everything outside is suspect. Today, data needs to be protected wherever it travels and wherever the user works.
What’s driving this, of course, is the desire of workers to produce anywhere they can, and whenever they can. The challenge for IT organizations is to still be able to maintain the necessary level of control over what applications their users employ, and ensure data remains protected. Because without that control the likelihood of experiencing a negative incident dramatically increases.
Consider the lawsuit underway at a health agency where a nurse lost a USB drive with unencrypted personal information on more than 83,000 patients. According to this story, “Durham Region Health class action lawsuit puts price on personal information,” the organization will pay $500,000 in costs, disbursements, and taxes – to the tune of $5.95 per record. While this incident involved patients’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII), it could have just as easily been enterprise intellectual property, financial data, customer data, business plans, partner data – virtually any data imaginable. During the past decade, thousands of organizations have lost millions of records due to lost mobile devices. Also increasing risk is the fact that more mobile workers are turning to cloud storage services – services that lack enterprise-grade security capabilities.
So what can enterprises do to keep workers and contractors productive? The answer is within reach, but without the right technology in place it’s certainly not easy: Provide workers a pleasurable, yet secure, workspace so that they can work securely wherever they happen to be – and whether or not they are connected to the internet. And if their device is lost, it’s also adequately encrypted and therefore the loss is essentially a non-event.
One of the most compelling new ways to achieve this is by providing workers a secure mobile workspace where they can operate unhindered, and as productively as possible. A secure workspace can replicate the online or office work experience by simply booting a workspace from within a secure USB drive. This mobile workspace is configured as a full-featured Windows desktop, and all of the applications that have been provided by the organization meet internal policies.
This mobile workspace is powerful, as it enables employees to take advantage of the local processing power of their own unmanaged notebooks and home PCs (think Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD) with all the security in place that you and most enterprises demand.
With the advent of Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Windows To Go, the secure boot-from-USB mobile workspace is an idea that enterprises will increasingly look at to meet the many needs of their workforces – while also enforcing strong security and mobility policies.
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