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Articles Blockchains & Cryptocurrency Internet of Things

Blockchain Technology Securing IoT Infrastructure

The growth of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) paradigm begs the question if blockchain technology securing IoT infrastructure properly or not?  Currently propelled by an unprecedented increase in the number of internet-connected devices. Even though the Cisco’s 2011 projection about 50 billion devices in 2020 is not ending up being very accurate, more recent estimates by Gartner and IHS confirm the tremendous growth of the number of IoT devices.

Blockchain Technology Securing IoT infrastructure

 

 

The need to support billions of devices in the years to come is inevitably pushing IoT technologies to their limits. Despite significant progress in blockchain technology, the specification and implementation of IoT technologies for identification, discovery, data exchange, analytics and security, the future scale of IoT infrastructure and services is creating new challenges and ask for new paradigms.

As a prominent example, IoT security is usually based on centralized models, which are centered round dedicated clusters or clouds that undertake to provide authentication, authorization and encryption services for IoT transactions. Such centralized models are nowadays providing satisfactory protection against adversaries and security threats.

Nevertheless, their scalability towards handling millions of IoT nodes and billions of transactions between them can be questioned, given also recent IoT-related security attacks which have manifested the vulnerabilities of existing infrastructures and illustrated the scale of the potential damage.

In particular, back in October 2016, a large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack took place, which affected prominent Internet sites such as Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, Netflix and Reddit. The attack exploited vulnerabilities in IoT devices in order to target the infrastructures of dyn.com, a global infrastructure and operations provider, which serves major Internet Sites.

The incident is indicative of the need for new IoT security paradigms, which are less susceptible to attacks by distributed devices and more resilient in terms of the authentication and authorization of devices. In quest for novel, decentralized security paradigms, the IoT community is increasingly paying attention to blockchain technology, which provides an infinitely scalable distributed ledger for logging peer to peer transactions between distrusted computing nodes and devices.

Most of the people that are aware of the paradigm to blockchain technology securing IoT perceive it as the main building block underpinning cryptocurrencies such as the well-known BitCoin. Indeed, the main characteristic of Bitcoin transactions is that they are not authenticated by a Trusted Third Party (TTP), as is the case with conventional banking transactions.

In the case of the BitCoin, there is no central entity keeping track of the ledger of interactions between the different parties as a means of ensuring the validity of the transactions between them. Instead, any transaction occurring between two parties (e.g., A paying 1 Bitcoin to B) is kept in a distributed ledger, which is maintained by all participants of the BitCoin network and which is empowered by blockchain technology. Among the merits of this distributed ledger approach is that it is very scalable and more robust when compared to traditional centralized infrastructure.

This is due to the fact that the validation of transactions is computationally distributed across multiple nodes, as well as due to the fact that the validation requires the consensus (“majority vote”) of the whole network of communicating parties, instead of relying on a centralized entity. In this way, it is practically impossible for an adversary to attack the network, since this would require attacking the majority of nodes instead of one or a few parties.

Can-blockchain-technology-secure-IoT-data-and-devices

The scalability and resilience properties of the blockchain approach have given rise to its applications in other areas such as electronic voting or IoT transactions. The principle remains the same:

Transactions are logged in the distributed ledger and validated based on the majority of nodes, even though in the case of voting and other transactions Bitcoin units are replaced by votes or credits.

This results in a trustful and resilient infrastructure, which does not have a single point of failure.

Based on the above principle, blockchain is deployed as an element of IoT infrastructures and services, which signifies a shift from a centralized brokerage model, to a fully distributed mesh network that ensures security, reliability and trustworthiness. Blockchain technology securing IoT infrastructure facilitates devices to authenticate themselves as part of their peer-to-peer interactions, while at the same time increasing the resilience of their interactions against malicious adversaries. Moreover, this can be done in a scalable way, which scales up to the billions of devices and trillions of interactions that will be happening in the coming years.

Cases IoT Blockchain Technology Securing IoT

 

 

The development of secure mesh IoT networks based on blockchain technology is no longer a theoretical concept. During the last couple of years several companies (including high-tech startups) have been using blockchain technology in order to offer novel IoT products and services. The most prominent implementations concern the area of supply chain management. For example, modum.io is applying blockchain in the pharmaceuticals supply chain, as means of ensuring drug safety.

The company’s service uses the blockchain technology in order to log all transactions of a drug’s lifecycle, starting from its manufacturing to its actual use by a health professional or patient. Recently, the retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced a food products track and trace pilot based on blockchain technology. The pilot will document all the steps associated with tracking and tracing of pork, from the farm where the food is grown, to the supermarket floor where it is shipped. This pilot is a first of a kind effort to validate the merits of the blockchain outside the scope of the financial services industry.

Beyond supply chain implementations, novel products are expected to emerge in the areas of connected vehicles, white appliances and more. Several of the applications are expected to benefit from blockchain’s ability to facilitate the implementation of monetization schemes for the interaction between devices. In particular, as part of blockchain implementations, sensors and other IoT devices can be granted micropayments in exchange of their data.

The concept has already been implemented by company tilepay, which enables trading of data produced by IoT devices in a secure on-line marketplace. At the same time, cloud-based infrastructures enabling developers to create novel blockchain applications are emerging. As prominent example Microsoft is providing a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) infrastructure as part of its Azure suite.

Overall, blockchain technology is a promising paradigm for securing the future IoT infrastructures. Early implementations are only scratching the surface of blockchain’s potential. We expect to see more and more innovative products in the next few years.

In this direction, several challenges need also to be addressed, such as the customization of consensus (i.e. “majority-voting”) models for IoT transactions, as well as efficient ways for carrying out the computationally intensive process of transaction verification. Solutions to these challenges will certainly boost the rapid uptake of this technology in the IoT technology landscape.

 

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Articles Digital Transformation

Customer Loyalty Improving Engagement and Support

  • For every customer complaint, there are 26 other customers who have remained silent. 9 out of 10 unsatisfied customers would not willingly do business with your organization again.

~ Source: Lee Resource Inc.

 

  • 19 out of 20 satisfied customers who get their issue resolved will return and tell on average 5 people about their experience.

~ Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC

 

Whether you are a CEO, an Account Exec, or an independent consultant and whether your business is pizza, financial services, earthmovers, or volunteer services, you want to avoid the first two above. On the positive side, you hope your business falls into the category of the third bullet where you can grow & improve your customer loyalty.

What these three key business stats have in common is that they measure customer behavior, specifically the behavior of returning – whether it is to buy again or just give you feedback. Returning customers are loyal customers, people who have an emotional and relational investment in you because of how they have been treated, whether they are individual buyers or they represent their companies.

Think of your customer.

  • Do you serve an “external” customer, one who purchases your company’s products and services? Then, you might be in Sales, Account Management, Customer Service, or Field Service.
  • Or do you serve an “internal” customer, one who (by choice or not) receives your work product or service. In this scenario, you might never interact with an external customer, but you still have an impact on the eventual result.
  •  You might be in HR, Talent Acquisition, IT, Engineering, Logistics, Office Management or a similar internal function.

 

What Is Customer Loyalty and Why Is It So Important?

 

  • Whoever your customers are, are they delighted with you?
  • Are they so thrilled with your products and services, that they will do business with you when your prices are a little higher than the competition?
  • Will they forgive you one or two small mistakes and still return?
  • Have your customers become your best “sales” people because they rave about their experiences with your businesses?
  • Will internal customers always come back to you or will they outsource your service?
  • And if they cannot outsource, do they rate your services as a loyal, returning customer would?

Loyal internal customers will help you improve because they are relational and maybe fiscally invested in you and your operation. All business organizations hope their customers keep coming back, and loyal customers are the best foundation for a sustainable future. As a culture of customer loyalty takes hold throughout your organization:

  • Engagement improves,
  • Innovation flourishes,
  • Teamwork grows,
  • And, everyone becomes focused on how his or her results affect the eventual loyal customer.

Adopting customer loyalty as a management, company-wide objective to be continuously improved is critical to the success of business in our socially networked and increasingly competitive service environment.

Points of Connection

 

Your external or internal customers’ points of connection most directly impact customer loyalty. A point of connection is any interaction a customer has with one of your employees or one of your business processes. Points of connection define the customer loyalty from the inside out and determine how a customer rates the service received and ultimately how the business is referred or criticized. As the graphic explains, these 6 points of connection are applicable and important for serving both external and internal customers. Imagine for a minute you crafted a scorecard, which could be used by your team to measure customer loyalty in terms of these 6 criteria (you could customize as appropriate). On a performance scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best), your customer can paint a picture of how he/she feels about doing business with you:

  • How are we at listening to you, discovering your plans, uncovering your needs, and staying current about your business?
  • Do you feel like you and your needs are important to me and my department or company?
  • If there are differences of opinion or misunderstandings, do we address them professionally, openly, and without delay?
  • Do you feel confident that we are being 100% honest and truthful about our proposals and solutions?
  • Do we do what we say we are going to do?
  • Do you feel everyone you deal with on our team is being authentic?

Evaluating these points of connection, and the opinions your customer expresses about them, are valid for both external and internal customers. But how many businesses evaluate the customer loyalty awareness and contributions of their internal departments?

From the Inside Out – Relational Sustainability

 

Customer-Loyalty-workshop-300x194The business strategy of “sustainability” has been part of C-Level vocabulary for many years and it can mean different things to a CEO and his/her executive team depending on the business they are in. Manufacturing companies need to be mindful of environmental waste regulations.

Companies in service industries such as insurance and finance focus on energy consumption of their buildings and the recycling efforts of their paper. Businesses of all types and size have Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.

But how many of them have Relational Sustainability initiatives to ensure their key relationships remain strong and are long-lasting? There may not be an official worldwide watchdog agency tracking your company’s carbon foot print and its relational sustainability in the same report, but any business which depends on loyal customers to sustain its growth, and strives to have engaged employees which treat each other as internal customers, will want to sustain its focus on the “five relational building blocks to amazing customer results” as shown below.

Consider a Customer Loyalty Relational Sustainability Workshop

 

This is designed to raise the level of customer loyalty focus and skills across all parts of your business:

  • Consists of 5 weekly workshop sessions, 4 hours each.
  • Is practical, interactive, and customized for your business.
  • Builds a world-class customer loyalty culture by improving internal relationships using the Points of Connection.
  • Focuses on 5 key building blocks, you, your customer(s), your relationship with your customer(s), how to best use your team to support your customer(s), and being goal and results-oriented.
  • Delivers to each attendee a detailed, individualized Customer Relationship Business Plan.

Customer Loyalty Summary

 

  • Returning customers are loyal customers and customer loyalty has replaced customer satisfaction as a more important key performance indicator because loyalty helps a business survive market challenges that mere satisfaction cannot do.
  • Not only do employees who serve external customers need to understand customer loyalty strategies; employees working in internal and support functions can make significant contributions to the company culture of customer loyalty.
  • An executive commitment to a company strategy of customer loyalty will improve employee engagement, innovation, and buy-in that the business is serious about investing in a sustainable future.
  • A company’s or department’s customer loyalty can be measured by its Points of Connection performance.
  • Training internal employees in the skills that improve customer relationships will improve performance in the Points of Connection. This is what is meant by improving customer loyalty from the inside out.

 

Categories
Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

Poor Executive Performance What to Do and How to Avoid It

Dealing with a poor executive performance can be frustrating. It can be complex and time consuming to make sure you get the right result – an improvement in their performance, or failing that, them being managed out of the organisation in a fair and legal way.It is likely you will meet with a poor executive performance from senior management at least twice; the first time to tell them how their performance is ineffective and set targets for improvement, and the second to review their progress and decide about their future.

In practice, you may have several other steps to follow, but the conversations will follow the same pattern, and if you master that pattern, you will find it easier to deal with any conversation about performance effectively.  And what is the pattern? You prepare. You talk. You listen. You consider. You decide. You communicate your decision. In basic terms, it is as simple as that.

Prepare

 

Preparation involves making sure you know the Board of Directors policy and what authority they or you must make decisions; you know where the poor executive performance falls short (and you have specific examples), you’ve planned how you want the meeting to go, you’ve given the executive appropriate notice and information in accordance with policy, and you’ve identified a suitable time and venue.

Talk

 

Next, you talk. You may have a predetermined structure to follow or perhaps an agenda you have drawn up, in either case, you need to explain the reason for the meeting and what you want to achieve – to discuss the performance issues and what needs to be done about them. Then you give them the evidence of their performance shortfalls.

Listen

 

Now you give the executive the opportunity to talk and you need to listen. The quickest way to make sure someone doesn’t engage with you is to make them think you’re ignoring what they say. And the only way you are going to get an improvement in performance is if they are working harder, better, or differently. You need their participation. That said, if they refuse to make the effort, then you can still act. It’s not about handing over control. It’s about managing the situation.

It may be that there are some issues that you’re not aware of. They may not have been properly mentored to carry out that objective or task. They may have to rely on a third party which is causing the problems. They may have a health problem that impacts on their ability. There can be as many reasons as there are staff.

They may also get emotional. You might face anger or distress. You can never tell how someone will react until you’re in that situation. Don’t let this side-track you. If they become too emotional to carry on, take a break, but always make sure you get back to the matter at hand.  As a rule, having evidence of poor executive performance issues makes it easier to deal with any emotional reactions since it is harder to ignore facts. It also helps you deal with those who might use an emotional reaction as a tactic to delay the discussion.

Consider

 

This leads neatly on to considering the information you now have. No effective Board member makes a business decision without having the relevant facts or without weighing the options. Performance management is as much a business decision as any other issue you will face. Compensation is not the biggest budgetary outgoing, as in reality poor executive performance can cause a damaging ripple or delay in carrying out the business strategy or impact your market share or customer confidence and that can cost not only millions over the course of two or three years. Dealing with poor executive performance issues is a key opportunity to ensure you get the best return on that investment.

Decide What to do about Poor Executive Performance

 

Now you have the decision to make. You’ll know from your preparation which options are open to you: it may be a verbal or written warning, it may be dismissal. Whatever it is, ensuring that you have been fair and followed policy will mean your decision is more likely to stand if the executive decides to challenge it. It would be unfortunate to end up fighting a legal battle and losing, just for the sake of following the process properly.

Communicate

 

Once you have made your decision, you need to communicate it in the most appropriate way. Face-to-face is usually best, with written confirmation including an action plan. This should be given to him/her as quickly as possible to both capitalise on the momentum from your discussion and to reinforce its importance. There should also be clear demarcation between responsibilities, especially since the executive is the only one who can improve their performance.

And how do you know if you get it right? The executive goes away knowing what they should do, how they must do it, when they need to do it by, they have no illusions about the part they must play, they know the support they can expect from you the most senior management and the Board of Directors, and they understand the consequences of not meeting their targets.

And finally, it can be uncomfortable for any CXO or Board member having to have these discussions with one of their executives, but if you do it in a fair, reasonable, and supportive way, you can be their biggest ally, even if, in the end, it doesn’t work out.

How to Avoid Poor Executive Performance

 

 

Studies from Leadership IQ, SHRM, and many others have revealed repeatedly that the most failure by executives is lack of interpersonal skills.  But really it goes much deeper than that.  The executive may have outstanding KPIs and accomplishments throughout their career, but in this instance, seems to be failing.  It is not always the individual’s fault as changes to the most senior executive staff or ownership of the company can also be a key reason for poor executive performance.

One of the first things we do at NextGen Global Executive Search is to use scientifically based psychometric surveys of the team an executive role will be working with. Depending on the level of the role, this could include Board members, CXOs, SVP, internal customers, and in the case of a vital role in sales or support, we include key external customers.

The resulting data is compiled from these 5 to 8 surveys into a Composite Team Analysis. It tells us the values and motivations, relational communications style, decision making and management traits of the team.This in turn gives our staff a good idea of the target candidate profile from a team fit perspective. The easy part, as any good retained executive search consultant will tell you, is finding a good role fit takes a lot of hard work and documented proof to insure you have the right shortlist.

Poor-executive-performance-issues-300x225Even on difficult searches – I’ve had several of “finding the needled in the haystack” where there were a very limited number of individuals who could meet/exceed the role objectives, it’s still the easier part of a search.

Before proceeding with cold calling and networking, we develop a Search Strategy that details what we are looking for in role fit, team fit, measurable past KPIS, relevance and depth of industry relationships, investor relationships, market cap, market share, turnaround where appropriate, etc. After all, the entire reason for retaining an executive search consultant is because you want the “A players” brought forth, the 14% of the entire workforce that produces 8 to 10 times more than B players.

With CXO and SVP roles, you cannot afford to miss. Same goes for key functional leaders, so that’s not limited to the most senior executives.Now let’s get back to how you can potentially avoid poor executive performance and IMPROVE it. If your retention rate starts to go down, market share or customer support is dropping, revenues are declining, or poor morale seems to be increasing, the worst thing you can do is panic or make staffing decisions based solely on those metrics.

Before doing so, entertain the low cost involved with scientifically based Team Alignment and Individual Team Performance.  We’ve done this for several clients – big and small – and what we have found is that some individuals are simply on the wrong team or that the teams themselves were simply improperly aligned to succeed.  It goes back to team fit. Each department in any organization has different teams and those teams are made up of individuals.  Having too many similar strengths and weaknesses means a team cannot learn and produce effectively.

The counterbalance of any team is having an effective leader, a coach, a technical or sales mentor, an interpersonal skills expert, a geek, etc. – if properly aligned these seemingly different individuals have the right balance of identified strengths and weaknesses that those traits can be effective through action plans.   In a very short time, realignment and proper positioning of teams can increase production dramatically.  How many of you have ever used this method?

Categories
Articles Wireless Ecosystems

Zero Rating for Broadband and Mobile Operators

A report on zero rating by the Federal Communications Commission just a week and a half before the inauguration of Donald Trump said that zero rating for broadband and mobile network operators violates net neutrality rules. “Zero-rated” applications do not count toward data caps or usage allowance imposed by internet service providers. Forbes staff writer Parmy Olson called the report “too little too late”.

Zero rating has come under fire from many quarters. “While network capacity could become a problem if zero-rated offerings truly take off,” writes Colin Gibbs in a review of 2016 for Fierce Wireless, “the biggest challenge to the model has been claims that it’s a threat to net neutrality rules.”  Last year, Verizon began offering zero rated video streaming though NFL Mobile app.

 

Keeping the Net Neutral

 

The idea of net neutrality is that everything on the internet should be treated openly and fairly. Net neutrality prohibits blocking of sites by ISPs. It prohibits throttling:  ISPs should not slow down or speed up content for different services. It calls for increased transparency and prohibits paid prioritization of traffic. Before the recent FCC report, sponsored data plans – plans with zero rating – were to be judged by the agency on a case-by-case basis.  NextGen’s wireless practice has 22+ years working in these types of telecom market movements and standards.

 

Zero Rating for Broadband and Mobile Network Services

 

 

Facebook offers free internet access to underdeveloped countries with curated content. According to Internet.org, “Free Basics by Facebook provides people with access to basic websites for free – like news, job postings, health and education information, and communication tools like Facebook.” The motto of the service is “Connecting the World”.

A number of mobile network providers have taken up the practice. The first to try zero rating was T-Online with their Music Freedom offering in 2014. They followed that up with a video service called Binge On. Verizon came up with their own mobile video service called Go90. Perhaps the most aggressive has been AT&T’s partnership with DirecTV.  Virgin Mobile 4G Plans Now Allow Free Zero Rated Data Use on Twitter.

zero-rating-for-ISPs-and-mobile-networks

Presenting the case against zero rating for broadband and mobile network operators services, the young Mike Egan stated articulately in a YouTube video: “Zero rating isn’t about giving online services or online creators a chance. It’s about mobile carriers finding a loophole so that they can keep you even more locked into what easily becomes their new media ecosystem.”

He says that “certain services are privileged over others” and that it is one of the best ways to “kill a free and open internet”.

Egan and others like him are upset, and he talks in terms of “the oppressor” versus “the oppressed”.   The Federalist Society takes a different view. In their YouTube video about zero rating, they compare it to getting free samples of ice cream. “This is a way to increase the adoption of the internet,” the spokeswoman says. “All that zero rating is doing is helping to increase the competition and expanding the user choice.”

 

The Less Regulated Road Ahead

 

The “too little too late” remark of the Forbes staffer is all about the new political realities in America. Despite the recent pronouncement again zero rating by the FCC, chances are the practice will continue unabated. President Trump has vowed to cut government regulations by 75%, and the new FCC chairman Ajit Pai will likely tamp down any opposition to zero rating for ISPs and mobile network operators.

A blog post from CCS Insight says, “Mr. Pai had opposed government intervention in the telecommunications market and has been an open critic of an FCC report disapproving of zero-rating data, also known as toll-free data….” The blogger goes on to say that there will certainly be a rise in the number of toll-free data offers.

 

Conclusion on Zero Rating for Broadband and Mobile Services

 

Many are concerned about the potential loss of internet freedom with zero rating. As Egan put it, “It’s a war for the future of our media landscape.” How that war plays out when deregulation sets in remains to be seen. Neutrality is a hard thing to maintain.     What are your ideas on zero rating?  Does your network provider bundle any of these services? How do you think it will affect the future of the internet? Please add your comments below.

 

Categories
Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

New Hire Onboarding Process Increases Productivity

The new hire onboarding process, for so many companies, is crammed into orientation or fails.  New hire onboarding increases productivity when used correctly.  Unfortunately the main causes for onboarding failure are two-fold.  One is Human Resources tries to use a “one-size-fits-all” approach.  Secondly, it involves too much valuable time of executives to follow the onboarding plan.

The executive recruiter found the “A Player you need.  Your expectations are that the new leader or key staff person you just hired will make an impact sooner rather than later.  You’ve made an investment in strategy, compensation, and a recruitment fee.  Now is the time to utilize a CUSTOMIZED new hire onboarding process to increase the potential of gaining a Return on your Investment.

If you had engaged an executive search firm to recruit for a key position at any level, the recruiter should provide a custom employee onboarding set of tools based on the role and team dynamics. Doing so results in the new hire meeting performance objectives sooner and being retained longer.  A best practices employee onboarding process will help you accomplish all of the above when designed and facilitated as a customized, one-on-one version.

The Type of New Hire Onboarding Process that Works

In order to design, document, and deliver a viable, easy to utilize new hire onboarding process that works requires a few hours each month for both the new hire and manager he/she reports to.  The guidelines should consist of a psychometric based team profile, the new hire’s role fit and team fit analysis, a personal action plan for the new employee, a mentoring / coaching guideline, and a measurement tool.

Many companies spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars with so-called Human Resources or People Management firms or psychology-based firms that in the end produce a one-size-fits-all model based on a corporate profile / corporate culture.  They are very time consuming so rarely are they carried out for new employees to fruition. To make matters worse, often it is handed over to HR, who is not part of the individual team the person was hired for and their focus is on orientation and “corporate culture” assimilation rather than how the new hire assimilates into the team he/she will be working within.

Facilitated correctly, the plan should smoothly and quickly assimilate the new employee into the team culture, not just the company culture.  By capturing profile data about the new hire, his/her direct reports, and the organization, a plan is developed for maximizing understanding, positive communications, and relational communications effectiveness.

An effective new hire onboarding process ensures the new executive  or employee  knows exactly what the senior team expects and receives specific feedback early, helping him/her to establish effective influential networks, social, community, and professional, internal and external relational communications and conflict resolution skills.  The end result is higher retention because the phased activities lead to deeper engagement, innovation, and job fulfillment levels.

How About Costing You ZERO for a Custom New Hire Onboarding Process?

NextGen Executive search charges NOTHING to deliver a custom new hire onboarding process with each new hire we place.  Our placements average 3.5 years still on the job retention rate.  The employee onboarding new hire process will provide a good initial experience for a new hire and lay a strong foundation upon which to build loyalty, inspiration, innovation, and high performance.

Looking to fill a key executive position in your company? Contact us today for a free retained search consultation or download our award winning recruitment process.

 

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Articles Cyber Security

Mobile BYOD Security IT Best Practices

Mobile BYOD security is always an issue for IT and security.  Going online increasingly means going mobile. “There’s an app for that” is the truth these days. Unfortunately, mobile device security brings the same set of concerns that full computer and cloud systems are battling – threats, hacking, and ransomware.

The biggest security threat to mobile devices that is not found in desktops or servers is that very mobility. In mid-2015, 2.1 million Americans reported their mobile phones lost or stolen according to Consumer Reports.  That’s a drop. Add tablets and the count is higher, but still less than what it has been. CR doesn’t try to say why the number of missing devices is down.

Mobile BYOD Security in the Work Environment

The ability to wipe data or lock down a smartphone was considered high end security. Apple led the pack in that kind of security, but even the vaunted iPhone was hacked. It’s probably easier than you think. “More than 86% of Apple iPhones in the world are apparently still vulnerable to a security flaw that allows a hacker to completely take over the device with just a text message, according to data from mobile and web analytics firm MixPanel,” said a report at Business Insider.

It does not matter if your work environment is BYOD or company-supplied. Once the mobile device is gone, expect it to be hacked.  Think a remote wipe of the mobile device is going to protect your information? It won’t. A quick google on “recover lost data from smartphone” turned up plenty of companies selling information-recovery software.

YouTube also has plenty of videos teaching people how to recover files from a smartphone. While these tutorials are aimed at helping someone find and restore “lost” photos or text messages, there’s not a real difference between a picture of someone’s kids at the park and a file with a client’s payment information. Data is data.

Some of these ideas are worth adding to your company’s mobile BYOD security policies.

  1. Lock it. Set a strong passcode or password on company-supplied devices. The more numbers used, the better. Get the IT staff to set passwords or codes. A lot of employees, if allowed to do it themselves, will choose something simple or something personal like a birthday for numbers or children’s names for passwords. For BYOD either limit access to sensitive information or have IT set strong codes for access to those files.
  2. Auto erase after failed unlocks. Restoring deleted data is cheaper than covering losses from a hack.
  3. No public charging stations. Viruses and malware at public charging stations have been around for years. CNBC said the problem is getting worse.  “Here is how it works: The cybercriminal needs to hide an HDMI [high-definition multimedia interface] splitter and recorder in the charging station. Most smartphones are now HDMI-enabled so you can share images from the phone onto a TV. Once plugged in, the station uses the built-in HDMI to record everything done on the smartphone without the user’s knowledge.”

None of these are guaranteed to stop a dedicated hacker when it comes to mobile device security.   But they will frustrate someone who stole the phone or tablet and hoped for an easy score. They can also create enough of a delay for you to lock out the device from your system and alert any customers whose information may be compromised.

Enable Stronger Mobile BYOD Security

The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) says mobile hacks are steadily climbing. The report lists things to do to protect mobile devices.  CERT’s best security ideas are:

 

  • Don’t put sensitive information on mobile devices. May not be practical, but this is the best mobile BYOD security policy.
  • Limit the type and number of apps allowed on a mobile device. For a BYOD, this could be problematic. If you are in a BYOD environment, have the employee sign an agreement allowing the IT department to lock company information and restrict access to it.
  • Step up the basic access to the phone with longer pass codes and more complicated passwords.
  • Disable Bluetooth, infrared and Wi-Fi.

Mobile-BYOD-SecurityMobile may not be part of your company’s business model right now, but it is coming.  If you already have it, what are you doing to make things secure? What’s in your company’s written mobile device policy?  How do you enforce it? How do you monitor the devices, especially if you are BYOD?

Having issues with recruiting cyber security experts with deep experience in wireless protocols, mobile networks, mobile security apps and BYOd security?  Click below to ask NextGen how we can solve recruitment issues and deliver the right candidates for hire.

 

Charles Moore

Charles Moore

DX / CX / CDP IoT & 5G Wireless
How to Evaluate an Executive Search Firm
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