7 years ago


Distributor's Link Magazine Summer Issue 2012 / VOL 35 / NO.3


68 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Joe Dysart Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Thousand Oaks, California. A journalist for 20 years, his articles have appeared in more than 40 publications, including The New York Times and The Financial Times of London. During the past decade, his work has focused exclusively on ecommerce. Voice: (631) 256-6602; web:; email: SHINY TOY SYNDROME: EMPLOYEE-PHONES, A NOT- SO-COOL SECURITY RISK FOR FASTENER DISTRIBUTORS While tech-giddy employees are prone to fawn over every new iThing smuggled into the workplace – devices that are often used in violation of a fastener distributor’s policy -- IT security pros see something very different: a security breach waiting to happen. For security, the hard fact is many of these unauthorized devices can slash gaping holes in business security systems in a nanosecond, exposing business data and applications to hackers. Indeed, even some authorized devices are keeping security IT upat-night, since their current software solution may not designed to handle some of these brand new phones and tablets. The reason Distributors are only able to safeguard their company network when they know ahead of time what kind of smartphones and tablets will be logging into to their systems. Add a new smartphone on-the-sly – with a foreign operation system and apps that may be riddled with viruses – and all of your fully coded defenses can be shredded in an instant. Even worse, the security tsunami created by unanticipated mobile gadgets is expected to grow only more ferocious in the coming year, tech experts say. These days, 48% of smartphones at the workplace are now chosen by employees, rather than IT departments, according to a December 2011 study released by market research firm Forrester. And at no time do those employees even consult with IT to determine if the company’s computer Above: Thorsten Heins, CEO, RIM - makers of the Blackberry - is promising software later this year that promises to secure all makes of mobile phones on a business network. Below: The apple of many an eye, the iPhone can be easy prey for the experienced hacker. pros can secure those phones. “The consumerization of IT, sometimes called ‘Bring Your Own Device’ or BYOD, became one of the newer causes of data vulnerability,” in 2011, echoes Mark Harris, a vice president at Sophos, which released details of the trend in its Security Threat Report 2012 ( library/PDFs/other/Sophos SecurityThreatReport2012.pdf), released earlier this year. Meanwhile, security pros like those at Wisegate, an invitationonly social network for key players in IT security, also have special concerns about the widespread proliferation of unauthorized Android devices. “Wisegate members are leery of the Android application marketplace because it is too uncontrolled,” Wisegate researchers wrote in their report, Effective Bring our Own Device Strategies (http://www. downloads-byod), released earlier this year. “Neither the developers, nor the applications, are screened and vetted. So it’s very possible that applications could present a security risk from viruses, malware and other vulnerabilities.” In addition, the blurring barrier between business and personal technology is causing more than a little hand-wringing when a smartphone or other device suddenly goes missing, and a business is forced to inform an employee that their entire device must be ‘wiped’ or erased of all data – both business and personal. please turn to page 82


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