Our staff stumbled upon an article at Computer Business Review insinuating that PCs are quickly becoming obselete due to the proliferation of tablets and better smartphones, starting with the iPad in 2010. We agree with Nathan Pearce’s observation of the myriad of security issues the arise from employees being given such a degree of access to sensitive data on such hard to manage devices. Most of us tend to dwell on the ease-of-access and user-friendly attributes synonymous with tablets, often overlooking the lack of layered security that needs to be implemented on these devices before even considering adding it to a work network. Combined with a complete lack of training for employees to go through regarding compliance and best practices, and you’re left with a device that is a catalyst for disaster.
Recently, it became widely known that Apple’s iOS (operating system) is susceptible to a myriad of malware infections and security breaches that were once thought of as improbably due to developer’s lack of knowledge on the platform. Other tablets run primarily on the Android platform, which is equally susceptible to malicious activity, either through unlocking or ‘rooting’ the phone, or general missteps in regards to browsing and social media usage. Here’s some food for thought: even with the introduction of Blackberry’s new operating system which features separate profiles for work and leisure, you can still send out sensitive corporate data through your casual profile without being blocked. We aren’t, and probably won’t ever be at a stage where security breaches of that nature can be completely avoided without wholly separating devices used for work and ones used for personal reasons.
As far as PC shipments experiencing a decline of between 5 and 9 percent worldwide, this doesn’t signify the eventual downfall of Personal Computers. Those who aren’t purchasing PCs and instead are purchasing tablets didn’t necessarily require some of the things that only PCs can bring you. Besides raw processing power, there are still hundreds(if not thousands) of pieces of software that require direct access to database and storage files that haven’t been moved to cloud yet. Those that truly use computers on a personal level that exceeds ‘Angry Birds’ and online Banking will not be making the jump to the still very limited tablet. Pearce’s article also says that it is important to move on from managing devices as a whole to managing security at the app level. Without educating the users who utilize both the device and apps within, however, you’ve done nothing but spent more time, energy and resources trying to make everything idiot-proof. Fact of the matter is that nothing… and we mean nothing— is idiot-proof. Instead of evolving as a technologically driven society, you’re trying to predict entirely too much about the user, which will always put you at a disadvantage from a security standpoint. Otherwise, you’re talking about doubling your IT budget in order to implement more safeguards, protocols and tools for managing a multitude of devices.
One thing we can all agree on-
“As tablet adoption continues to boom, businesses need to wise up to the security risks that mobile working presents and enforce a dynamic security policy to make the most of the benefits that flexible working has to offer.”