Are tablets secure enough for business?

Amazon is launching its first enterprise-ready tablet. A smart move, as the much-loved mobile device can finally be integrated into business. However it does beg the question, how can SMEs ensure they are prepared for this new mobile device onslaught?

This November sees the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX in the UK, featuring the new Fire 3.0 operating system.

With the update, the company addresses the potential threat that tablets pose to corporate data. Tablets running on Android operating systems are attractive targets for cybercriminals wishing to install malware on mobile devices. The new tablet is the first device of its kind to offer mobile device management features and support for encryption and authentication.

“Tablet use is thriving – we expect they will yet again be among the top-sellers this Christmas,” said Raj Samani, EMEA CTO at McAfee. “Amazon’s move to make its tablet enterprise-ready comes at a crucial time. Tablets form the latest piece in the BYOD puzzle, with more and more employees bringing their tablets to work and storing corporate data on the devices.”

SMEs and tablets

Small and medium sized businesses often have no mobile device management, let alone guidelines for BYOD. Employees wishing to connect to the company network from their Kindle Fire 3.0 can now profit from secure VPN connections. Yet there are additional steps SMEs can take to protect their data on Kindles and other tablet devices – and these should focus on both technology and education.

The following measures can be implemented independently of Amazon’s offering:

1. Train your staff: A recent McAfee study revealed that SME employees are failing to take security seriously, despite training. Employees should be made aware of the security implications a breach can have for the business and them personally and learn, for example, that they should download e-books only from official online bookstores.

2. Establish guidelines: Be clear from the beginning that while an employee may have created or managed a certain document that does not mean it is theirs for the taking.

3. Configure password protection: To protect the data in case of loss or theft, SMEs should enforce strong password policies – although currently this is not possible for all tablets.

4. Improve security: Mobile security software is already available for many mobile platforms. In addition, firewalls can restrict incoming traffic and thus prevent mobile devices from being used as a gateway for malware to enter the company network.

5. Get support: “Security-as -a-service” products will take all security-related tasks off a business’s hands so SMEs can concentrate on their core business.


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