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BLOG: Securing against the threat of lost mobile devices

Kunaciilan Nallappan | Oct. 24, 2012
Sufficiently robust tools to implement adequate protection are lacking.

The first of the above suggestions is difficult to implement. It can be answered within custom-built applications, but that doesn't help the hundreds of thousands of apps already available for mobile devices.

As for lost or stolen devices, an access management solution can say "if user X logs in from a mobile device, redirect them to the mobile site." It is possible to have a rule that says "if user X logs in from a mobile device after it has been reported stolen, then redirect the user to a lockout page, away from corporate systems".

This is important even in an environment where IT has supplied the devices as employees would prefer to invoke that type of functionality rather than have their devices wiped clean. However, the catch is that until mobile devices have their own unique identifiers, the user will not have access from all mobile devices. This poses a problem for those with multiple devices.

Today, there are advanced access management solutions that can stop users from logging on from a mobile device once a device is reported as stolen. Organisations can also put device identifying information into the applications they develop to make this control more granular, and turning on and off could be simple - as long as there's a way to make certain it actually is indeed the user in question.

The threat from lost mobile devices is more one of opportunity than what is usually protected against like DDOS. Nevertheless the reputation or the business health of an organisation could be at stake. So, a simple way for IT to control access is well worth considering.

Kunaciilan Nallappan is senior technical marketing manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, F5 Networks


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