Corporations were slow to embrace smartphones (think of all the trouble that an iPhone user had, even if the CEO had one too), but with tablets — not so much. The advent of the iPad and other tablets has shown that a multi-use, touch-screen device can be both superior and more portable than a laptop — combining the best of a computer with greater flexibility. As a result, tablets are the “go-to” device that personnel are now turning to in greater numbers, regardless of whether they’re in the office or in the field.
But the double-edged sword here is that the tablet is not being taken seriously when it comes to security. In fact, many users don’t even consider that what they’re holding IS a computer. As a result, pertinent and proprietary data are treated in a cavalier fashion – even though it’s no safer than any computer accessing the “Cloud” without some type of anti-infiltration software running.
The real truth is that the individual must be responsible for keeping the tablet’s contents safe. Even if there are applications that have been created and tailored for the company, it’s the individual who must be aware of the security settings that are available to use with that app — and the tablet in general. IT’s job is to present the security differences to the individual when the tablet’s operating system is upgraded; but when it comes to proactive, rather than reactive, it’s the one using the tablet who must bear the responsibility. And they must be savvy enough — whether that is native to their intelligence or the result of it having been drummed into them by IT — to make intelligent decisions as to the how and when of transmitting data from the tablet back to the company. For example, a local “hotspot” might be appealing or more viable than using a secure VPN network, but the opportunities for that data being “captured” are much greater.
Making the mobile device “secure” isn’t just about online connectivity. That the mobile device can be physically lost or stolen must be considered as well. While it’s true that the contents can sometimes be “wiped” remotely by IT, when you consider the amount of time that can transpire between the loss of the mobile device to when IT is notified, it is more sensible to have enacted passwords to protect against unauthorized persons using the device from the get-go.
The bottom line is that those using mobile devices must be educated into understanding that the inherent problems involving security, both online and off, are as valid for a mobile device like a tablet as they are for a computer. Once the mobile device is no longer erroneously thought of as inherently secure, the sooner will corporations be safeguarded.