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Sensitive Data and a Mobile Workforce: How to Make It Work

Sensitive Data and a Mobile Workforce: How to Make It Work
Working on the run, while traveling or from home, has become the norm in today’s ever-changing work environment. We have made great strides in mobile technology and solutions — but we still struggle to provide access to the data we need in an organized, logical and secure fashion.

There are multiple technologies and methods for meeting the needs of the mobile worker and the enterprise, but every mobile strategy will have to take into account two key aspects: optimization and security.

Making Information Optimized
In a KRC Research survey sponsored by Ricoh, nearly all business leaders considered it either very (47 percent) or somewhat (45 percent) necessary to make information mobile and easily available for their employees. Whether they’re in the office or connecting from afar, your employees can’t be inhibited from finding critical information quickly, easily and in the form they need.

And because optimizing your information is an enterprise-wide initiative, it’s not something you achieve with a single piece of software or masterstroke of IT design. It takes a holistic look at the information critical to your business. You need to understand where the data is stored, what format it is in, how it is presented to the user, how you currently process it and how you would ideally process it. With that understanding, you can focus on implementing the array of tools and strategies that bring those ideal processes to life.

Making Information Secure
Of course, the more mobile you make your information, the more critical it is to secure it and the access people have to it. How can you be sure unwelcome guests aren’t using the same routes your mobile workers use to access company information?
A personal mobile device can be lost or stolen. And your company’s IT staff can’t monitor and safeguard public computers in hotels and libraries.

Even your Virtual Private Network (VPN) and other seemingly secure parts of your enterprise systems are not immune to attack — as this article about a compromised airport network makes clear. Signing in to the airport’s VPN was a two-step process, which is generally regarded as a best practice. But a combination of form-grabbing malware (which records the text you type into a form window) and screen-capture technology allowed hackers to conquer both steps, steal passwords and gain access.

So does that mean you shouldn’t bother with multi-factor authentication? Not at all! But not all multi-factor authentication systems are created equal, and today, you need more than just a password to secure critical information. A two-factor authentication setup requires inputting something you know (e.g., a password) and also something you possess. That possession may be a card that you swipe or scan, or it may be your phone or other personal device. In those cases, the system sends you a text, email or phone call, allowing you to acknowledge/verify the request to log in.

In the airport example from above, sophisticated malware was able to beat the two-factor sign-in process. For further security, then, you can look to three-factor authentication: In addition to something you know and something you possess, logging in requires something you “are” — like a biometric input, such as a fingerprint or iris scan.

Because of the variety of threats out there, it’s critical to teach users how to use remote connectivity responsibly, along with making sure mobile devices (both BYOD and enterprise-provided) have up-to-date antivirus protection. Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions provide IT with comprehensive controls including, but not limited to, the ability to enforce PINs, encryption, enforce updates and distribute and secure the applications they deem necessary to every mobile device in your network. MDM and other security protocols should be covered in your data governance policy.

Closing Thoughts
Maintaining the flow of information throughout an organization is a necessity, and it encompasses more than building connections for mobile workers. What is necessary is a thorough and intelligent design of information processes throughout the enterprise — with careful attention paid to how you protect critical information, in all the environments it is now free to inhabit.

And that’s where we can help. Learn more at or call us toll-free 1-800-444-2943

About Stratix Systems
With offices in Reading, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia and Central and Northern New Jersey, Stratix Systems is one of the region’s leading technology solutions partners —with the people, resources and experience to deliver the IT, content/document management and imaging support you need: where, when and how you need it. In fact, very few providers in the region can match the vast array of total business solutions and responsive service available from Stratix Systems. It’s no wonder why we are the partner-of-choice for over 4,500 organizations throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Have a question? Get an answer. Our experienced systems experts would be happy to answer your questions, help you explore your options and develop a customized plan for you. Learn more at or call us toll-free 1-800-444-2943.

This post originally appeared on, authored by Ricoh USA.

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