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Securing Windows Mobile devices inside your organisation

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jul-2007 21:42

According to studies every year around 60,000 mobile devices are lost and 120,000 are stolen. Many of these devices contain information belonging to companies, and yet an HP study says 83% of mobile devices in a company are privately owned.

Fellow Microsoft MVP Jaap van Ekris has written an article touching this subject and what IT departments can do to bring "rogue" Windows Mobile devices in line with their security policies:




Major point in this article is that it is necessary for ICT departments to take measures to secure mobile devices, regardless who is the owner of the physical device, and that measures are relatively easy to take and that users should not be hindered too much by it. Many companies have developped a blind spot for mobile devices in general, especially the ones that are taken along by employees themselves.

Companies are in fact taking counterproductive measures to protect their interest: most companies only allow the desktop sync with these devices, which makes these devices unseen and uncontrollable even if they are completely filled with company information. To stop this, companies do have to grasp any means possible to gain control over these devices: it requires querrilla tactics to find uncontrolled devices in your infrastrucure and convert them into well protected containers of information.

The combination of the prices going down and the need of effectiveness is noticeable in business settings. A lot of devices are simply entering the company through the backdoor: people are simply buying devices themselves and take them to work to hook them up to whatever they will find. According to research conducted by HP, 83% of all devices found in companies are privately owned. Still these devices are used in business contexts and contain company information. Since the devices are privately owned IT departments ignore them, making them unmanaged risks in the company. This introduces the need for guerrilla tactics: you will have to find unusual ways to gain control over devices that legally are beyond your control or otherwise you will lose control over your data completely.

There is a need to gain control over these devices: they are in fact a risk. They are not considered under the company control, but still they contain company confidential information.


A couple of years ago we touched this subject here on Geekzone, with the article "Defining a security policy for Windows Mobile", but since then, with Windows Mobile 5 and Windows Mobile 6 new features are built into the OS making things easier.


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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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