Every good manager has an open-door policy. Come on in. Let’s talk about it, right after you get those TPS reports finished. That would be greaaaat…
Open doors are good when it comes to management. When it comes to cybersecurity, open doors are an invitation for hackers.
That’s one takeaway from a new study released this week by MeriTalk, “Endpoint Epidemic.” But that’s becoming increasingly difficult because of the proliferation of devices at every agency. Workers have more devices than ever and more ways than ever to connect to networks.
It’s your classic double-edged sword–those devices have made workers more productive than ever, but they have also made it more difficult for IT departments to ensure the security of networks and data. Every device is a door to the network. If those endpoints aren’t secure, those doors are open.
Federal IT managers estimate 44 percent of endpoints used to access agency networks are at risk. It seems like a lot of doors are wide open.
Personal (Device) Problem
Mobile access, telework, and the BYOD movement are here to stay–just like selfies. Smile! Workers crave convenience and policies that allow them to work wherever they want, whenever they want.
But only 40 percent of Federal IT managers say their agency requires employees to register personal devices before using them for work, and only 41 percent say they inspect those devices. That’s nothing to smile about.
It sounds like the honor system. But there’s no honor among thieves, and the bad guys will find a way to take advantage of weak devices if agencies–and users–don’t improve their security.
In fact, personal devices represent an agency’s greatest cybersecurity challenge. Even among agencies that do have Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies:
- 61 percent do not apply network security policies to mobile devices.
• 60 percent do not require encryption.
• 50 percent do not ban the use of public Wi-Fi networks.
• 47 percent do not require anti-malware or anti-virus software.
Keep Out (unless you’re here to talk)
Read the full report. It will help you remember that your manager’s open-door policy is a good thing, but that open doors on your agency’s network will usher in danger. And send along your favorite line from Office Space. That would be greaaaat…
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Bill Glanz is the content director for MeriTalk and its Exchange communities. In the past 14 years, he has worked as a business reporter, press secretary, and media relations director in Washington, D.C.