Forward Thinking: Network Security Trends for 2011 with Martin Hack

Posted: February 8, 2011 in Endpoint Management, Industry Commentary, IT policy, Mobile
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Editor’s Note: This post is part of the Forward Thinking series, which features expert opinions on the top security trends of 2011. Today’s post features Martin Hack, EVP at NCP engineering.

By Martin Hack, EVP at NCP engineering

This year’s threat landscape will build upon some of the major network security threats of 2011 with a few new twists and turns. Over the next two posts, I’ll outline these issues and provide tips to avoid falling prey to these dangers.

1.      Bring Your Own Devices – this is no longer a trend, it’s becoming more and more of a standard. Companies once purchased laptops and bevy of mobile devices to be doled out as corporate devices – for business use only, but now that’s turned into an allowance for employees to subsidize their personal devices for business use. With this development, IT departments are suddenly bombarded with multiple devices and platforms to manage. In 2011, be prepared for a highly dynamic environment with a garden variety of devices turning up from employees. The best way of handling such a diversity of devices would be to be prepared with a remote access management framework that doesn’t result in a nightmare scenario of having to manually configure each device individually.

Turning back the clock and going back to the days of corporate-only devices isn’t an option. The cat is out of the bag and employees are now accustomed to only carrying one device. This is from the top down. Executives have started doubling their personal devices as corporate devices and the effect has trickled down.

2.      The Melding of Business and Personal – the trend of work-life integration has been ongoing for years. However, the BYOD policy has rapidly accelerated this and 2011 will open mobile devices to even more threats. When their device doubles for work and personal, employees are more likely to check their Facebook account while also having a session open that connects to their work server. The attack surface for this type of behavior is still unfolding, but its potential is staggering. An attacker could create a free, popular Facebook application that is loaded with malware. The application could scan for smartphones that are connected to corporate networks and then unleash a Trojan onto the backend.

In his next post, Martin will explain how to protect against threats from the melding of business and personal and share his final prediction for 2011 network security trends.

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