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Mobile Workers Require Setting Boundaries vs Building Walls

Posted November 24, 2010    Peter McCalister

Although corporate networks today are increasingly open to subcontractors, partners or affiliates, or simply a workforce on the move, the tendency is still to think of security in the same way castles were defended in the middle ages, by building bigger walls – higher, wider and with more built in obstacles.

Indeed, a recent report Borderless Security, has reached similar conclusions – a combination of more mobility, increased social access to information and outsourcing to the cloud requires a change in traditional information security paradigms.

The reports authors add: “People and organizations outside the borders of the traditional corporate environment – play a role in helping to achieve information security objectives, but can also pose a risk to protecting your information.”

Today, personal mobile devices are used regularly by employees for business and to connect to the network, and while known as a vulnerable attack surface for malware, employees are increasingly willing to communicate with each other via social networking sites.

According to Symantec, workers are 35 percent more likely to violate corporate surfing policies when they are on the road, rather than in the office.

While Computerworld also reports that mobile workers are more than five times as likely to trigger blocks relating to prohibited downloads.

Obviously, when we talk about desktops today, it doesn’t just mean the number of MDF bureaus in your building.

So, with so many potential points of entry to sensitive data, so many different attack surfaces from which infection can happen, the shift in perspective required is to think less about building walls and more about establishing clear boundaries.

Employee at their desk or on the move, subcontractor or partner, access to the network should be the same.  When we talk about privileged access, it’s not who is more privileged than who, in terms of their relationship to the company, it simply refers to who gets access to what as defined by their role definition.

As the straight lines of traditional security practice get increasingly blurred and permeable, privilege access, becomes the cornerstone of not just good network security but also good people management.

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Additional articles

Dark Reading

2014: The Year of Privilege Vulnerabilities

Posted December 18, 2014    Chris Burd

Of the 30 critical-rated Microsoft Security Bulletins this year, 24 involved vulnerabilities where the age-old best practice of “least privilege” could limit the impact of malware and raise the bar of difficulty for attackers.

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Looking back on information security in 2014

Posted December 16, 2014    Dave Shackleford

Dave Shackleford is a SANS Instructor and founder of Voodoo Security. Join Dave for a closer look at the year in security, and learn what you can do to prepare for 2015, with this upcoming webinar. 2014 has been one heck of an insane year for information security professionals. To start with, we’ve been forced…

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December 2014 Patch Tuesday

Posted December 9, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This month marks the final Patch Tuesday of 2014. Most of what is being patched this month includes Internet Explorer, Exchange, Office, etc… and continues a trend of the greatest hits collection of commonly attacked Microsoft software. Probably the one thing that broke the mold this month is that for once there is not some…

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