Laptop Special: Security On The Move

DQI Bureau
New Update

In the face of an increasingly well-guarded corporate environment, hackers

have turned their attention to the growing army of mobile workers and their less

secure laptops. For the first time, remote filtering offers a way of extending

corporate security policies out to the mobile workforce.


It is no secret that IT managers view laptop users as a liability. Majority

of IT managers consider that corporate laptops used outside the office and then

re-connected to the network pose a major security risk to their company. Yet

very few have put in place automatic restrictions and policies to secure

Internet use on laptops.

In the corporate environment, it is a different story. Most organizations

have installed a myriad of different security products and services to protect

their network and systems at key access points, such as the Internet, desktop

and server level. Indeed, such is the rate of investment that the corporate

environment has become almost impossible for hackers to crack.

Yet take the laptop out of the office and most companies' security policies

go out the door with it.


The New Hacker

As hackers become more ingenious in the ways they lure users into giving

confidential information or downloading viruses and malware, 'trusting'

remote workers not to misuse a corporate laptop, whether intentionally or

otherwise, is no longer an option, especially in an era when the number of

mobile workers is set to rise significantly.

As in the corporate environment, the most effective way of preventing remote

workers from compromising the corporate IT networks with an infected laptop is

to put in place safeguards that stop them from visiting malicious websites,

giving information away to fraudsters or downloading applications that infect

the IT network and corrupt data files. To be truly effective both inside and

outside the office, an organization's employee Internet management policy

needs to consider mobile security as much as the safety of fixed assets.

Challenge Upgraded

New remote filtering applications can extend the same Web filtering

capabilities used in the corporate LAN to the laptop user. This means that an

organization's employee Internet management policy can be applied to both

office-bound and mobile workers, preventing users, wherever they are based, from

visiting websites deemed to be insecure or an inappropriate use of resources.


Often the problem is that remote workers are simply not aware of what

websites or applications are harmful.

At the same time, an increasing number of employees are abusing their

employer's trust by deliberately using their laptops outside the corporate

environment for non-work related business.

The New Panacea

Remote filtering removes the headache for IT administrators to monitor as to

which sites are secure. It also has financial benefits: given that an

unprotected laptop only has a lifecycle of three days before it grinds to a

halt, anything that can be done to increase its life span is likely to appeal to

IT and finance managers alike.


Once the remote filtering application is installed on a laptop, it ensures

that every time a request is made to visit a website, a second request is sent

back to the corporate system to determine if access is allowed. Other products

on the market have tended to route all network traffic, not just a single

request, through the corporate network. However, this tends to create latency

issues, particularly for organizations already suffering from a lack of

bandwidth in their network.

Everyone understands that laptops poses a problem but until now no suitable

technology solution was available. Remote filtering puts control back into the

hands of the IT manager.

Surendra Singh

The author is head, South East Asia and India, Websense