Don’t Let Your Network Suffer an Apple and Blackberry Crumble
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Sat 09 Jun 12 @ 22:14
As the number of Android and iOS devices activated reached their peak at 6.8million this month, one of the country's leading building support services companies, suggest that businesses across the UK risk compromising their performance.
Networks specialist Arthur McKay believes that many companies remain inadequately equipped to deal with the popularity of devices such as Blackberrys and iPads among their staff - and risk seriously compromising their security unless they bring their company network up to scratch.
The firm says that growing numbers of businesses are simply allowing staff to link their Apple or Blackberry devices to their company networks without considering the security implications of allowing such easy access, or whether their systems can even cope with the strain of servicing these additional devices in the first place.
Dave McLean, Head of Network Operations at Arthur McKay, said: "Mobile phones, iPads and Blackberry devices are becoming more and more prevalent in the modern workplace. Many staff are conducting their work on these platforms and the culture of business is slowly becoming more mobile.
"However, many businesses are still woefully underprepared for this changing trend in work culture. Their existing company networks are old and poorly-equipped for use with mobile devices, and this creates serious security risks when it comes to trying to link iPads or tablets to them.
"With workforces increasingly using these devices as their primary tool of choice for their business dealings, employers therefore need to be well prepared and informed about the best methods of maintaining security - and about new ways of securing their networks at all points of access, so that policy decisions can be made for each device connecting to a network, rather than just each user.
"For example, it may be prudent to ensure that employees who are using a range of different devices to have their device profile checked by the company's authentication server before they are granted permissions to download apps.
"Such a system allows the employer to consider whether software like iTunes or the thousands of apps available are business grade applications, whether they can actually be supported by the IT department in your organisation or if they pose a data security risk.
"It's a simple method of ensuring that every device is considered thoroughly before it is given access to the company network, but it's amazing how many firms out there still don't have this kind of system in place."
Dave adds that the need for security has never been greater when it comes to mobile devices, as the marketplace has dramatically changed in recent months. While Blackberry devices were historically viewed by businesses as the most secure mobile devices on the market, the recent high profile crash in its system - as well as the introduction of new technology from Apple and Android manufacturers - has led to many major employers turning away from Blackberry products.
With many blue chip corporates announcing plans to trial iphones and other Apple technology in the wake of the Blackberry crash, Dave believes that the marketplace is becoming more and more open for corporate mobile devices - and that companies need to seek professional advice in order to bring their networks in line ad successfully cope with these changes.
He adds: "If you want to provide a secure and safe networking platform for employees which supports a wide and varied range of devices, it is imperative to talk to an expert first. By trying to do it yourself - or, worse still, by keeping your infrastructure unchanged in the face of this changing culture - you run the risk of leaving your business open and vulnerable.
"A good networks specialist will be able to advise you on how best to enforce device-specific security policies, how to upgrade your network and how to improve security across your infrastructure from the core to the edge. It's an investment that will not only pay dividends in the future, but could also prevent a catastrophe down the line."
Arthur McKay is one of Scotland's largest building support services group, specialising in electrical and mechanical maintenance, facilities management and networking. Founded in 1958 by Arthur McKay, the £63million a year company employs over 630 staff operating out of offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.