News that US smartphone buyers are embracing the Google Android platform – whilst one in ten school children in the UK now have an iPhone – signals that the smartphone has become ubiquitous in our lives, says Cryptzone, the European IT threat mitigation specialist.
According to Peter Davin, Cryptzone’s CEO, as the new iPhone 5 is about to be launched on both sides of the Atlantic, these statistics – which are just two of several indicators on the rise in smartphone usage – mean that IT managers now need to develop a more effective access strategy for the increasing use of smartphones and tablet computers in the workplace.
“Lord Erroll said at this year’s Infosecurity Show keynote back in April that the consumerisation of IT is now inevitable (http://bit.ly/qTXl3Z), but regardless of who actually owns the portable device, we agree his point that organisations must accept that portable devices are now as much a facet of workplace life as the photocopier – which, incidentally, auditors viewed as a significant security threat back in the 1970s when they started reaching the mainstream,” he said.
“The rise and rise of Google Android as a portable device operating system of choice, however, changes things from an IT security perspective, since – as an open source operating system – users can clearly download their apps from many different sources, some of which are less secure than others,” he added.
The irony of the surge in take-up of Android devices in the US marketplace, he went on to say, is that the US corporate environment is arguably one of the most heavily regulated in the world, with federal law imposing all manner of requirements on IT departments in terms of governance and security.
A quick glance through the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, he explained, will confirm this to be the case. And, he noted, any European firms that want to trade with US companies usually have to abide by the terms of the Act.
“I’m often asked where does all this technology leave us on the security front, and I always reply that governance now goes hand-in-hand with conventional IT security. It all comes down to risk mitigation and reducing the risk profile of your organisation,” he said.
“And against the backdrop of Android becoming the smartphone operating system of choice for our US colleagues, and the iPhone continuing its march upwards here in Europe, the time has come for all IT security professionals to develop more effective portable device security strategies. Unless this happens, it is clear that the risk profile of the organisation is going to increase – and that’s a bad thing, regardless of which side of the Atlantic your offices are located,” he added.