Device Tracking

Utilizing geofencing for enhanced data security

With BYOD practices, data security requires advanced anti-theft solutions and enterprise mobility strategies. Explore geofencing technologies.

January 25, 2017

IT asset management has changed. With corporate bring your own device (BYOD) practices, data security needs advanced anti theft security and enterprise mobility solutions such as geofencing technology, to add invisible layers of access restrictions based on location.

Anti theft security: Mission... Impossible?

While thinking about device security, the first thing that came to my mind was the 1996 Mission: Impossible movie.

One scene that caught my attention was the way the not-so-secret NOC list (the non-official covers for the Impossible Missions Force team) that the heroes had to retrieve to double-cross the villains.

The only computer with this sensitive data was located inside a vault in Langley, Virginia, and the only person allowed inside the room had to pass through a series of security checks:

  • Voiceprint identification.
  • A 6-digit code.
  • A retinal scan from an outer room.
  • A double electronic keycard.
  • A sound sensitive, temperature sensitive and pressure sensitive system whenever the technician was out of the chamber.

Exciting! The best part? Tom Cruise saying:

“Any of these systems, if set off, will trigger an automatic lockdown. Now believe me when I tell you, gentlemen, that all 3 systems, are state of the art.”

No, it’s no longer state of the art, we know! But we thought… “yes, these were the good old days of cyber threat defense. Layers and layers of protection”.  Data security software has changed.

The job would’ve been easier for Ving Rhames (our real hero, yeah!) if the poor technician caught in the middle of this intrigue had brought his own laptop to work. Better yet, he was running Windows.

Let’s face it:  securing laptops and mobile devices hasn't been a walk in the park lately.

Geofencing technology: invisible layers of security checks at the palm of your hand

With bring your own device (BYOD) practices in companies, threats to sensitive data over a wireless network of information sharing applications on the cloud is a pain in the neck for any IT technician.

The funny thing is, we can still add on layers and layers of security checks to laptops, smartphones or tablets, but they wouldn’t need Tom Cruise diving cinematically from the ceiling because they would be invisible fences,  easily secured by your friendly neighborhood IT executive with geofencing and a mobile tracking software.

Anti theft security: are you Losing it?

Let me remind you of the case of Anthem, a massive data breach at a health insurance company occurred in 2015. As part of a cyber attack, hackers stole names and birth dates, social security numbers, home addresses and other personal information of 78.8 million current and former members and employees.

“It's probably difficult to keep a handle on everything,” Ken Dort, a partner and cyber security expert at law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath, told Modern Healthcare.

“The insurers have probably so many different legacy systems bolted onto older systems,” Dort continued. “They may not be quite as synchronized as much as they should be.”

According to a survey accessed by SC Magazine, a majority of IT employees fear their organization does not have the necessary solutions in place to prevent a security breach. They believe they don't have the budget or the expert personnel to address these threats.

This risk increases when we see that, to the British site IT Pro Portal, 94% of businesses considered mobility a “concern,” but only 32% gas BYOD policies in place.

“Typically when IT staff state that enabling mobility is a concern, they are in a position where people are using their own devices and IT are tasked with integrating these systems into corporate networks at the same time as keeping corporate data secure.”

For IoT Now, despite the “raft of benefits” which come with introducing IoT into the workplace, “the simple fact is that each new device which gains access to the company network becomes a potential site for a data security breach,” they say. “We’re going to see companies’ security perimeters being stretched even further as data passes between an increasing number of devices, raising the chances of infiltration or a breach.”

"Trying to support all these devices and manage them along with end user problems is a nightmare, and a lot still has to be ironed out," IDC analyst Will Stofega told  Computer World.

We’ve done the ironing out for you!

With geofencing apps you can keep tracking mobile devices as enterprise mobility solutions,  you can set areas on a map and get notifications whenever a device enters or leaves them. Now, instead of wasting time keeping tabs on your phones and laptops, a software can do the job for you. You get more with less.

What’s more exciting? According to The Next Web, with geofencing, companies can control access to devices, and applications on these devices, within a certain physical perimeter.

It can be used both to keep information in by restricting access to devices or applications while inside a company’s perimeter, and out by making it impossible for devices outside the perimeter to access the network.

The SC Magazine says that this management device is “a powerful addition” to data loss tools and will help us manage “the explosion of the BYOD phenomenon.”

“We're all accustomed to bringing our iPhone, tablet or smartphone with us everywhere to access the information we want, when we want it. (…) If a junior engineer can access the inner workings of your network while dining out, it is much easier for a black hat to do so as well.”

To IT Pro Portal, a simple Mobile Device Management solutions (MDM) such as geofencing technology could provide controlled access, a way to distribute, track, update and secure critical applications, a controllable separation of corporate and personal data and, better yet, secure enterprise applications.

Computer security can even customize access depending on location. According to Will Stofega on Computer World, “an employee with a BYOD device might only be able to access some less-sensitive corporate apps at a certain distance from a secured building. Geofencing for security could be an elegant and simple way to solve problems."

As an IT manager, what is your worst data security threat? How would you like to make the most of a geofencing capacity?.

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