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GCHQ announces smartphone security guidance for public sector workers

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has announced guidance for public sector technology chiefs to enhance data protection on lost or stolen smartphones. The advice focuses on configuration instructions, secure applications and training for staff members for security procedures on smartphones including iPhones, Windows Phone 7, Nokia and Blackberry devices.

Sophos’s public sector business development director, Graeme Stewart, notes that while the concept of mobility is continuing to gather momentum, the requirements and policies for smartphone working should remain the same as those for mobile working on laptops- secure, control and audit.

-Many organisations are focusing on encouraging employees to bring their own kit to work and to access corporate resources when they’re out of the office to allow staff to be more mobile, and more productive, commented Stewart. -However, there is a second issue here that is often overlooked, which is organisations buying equipment that was designed for the consumer space, but using it in a corporate setting. Quite often, this kit is not enterprise ready, as it is not shipped with the right software on board to enable control, audit and remediation in the event of a problem.

-The consumerisation of technology across all sectors is a space that is continuing to move rapidly, continued Stewart. -It’s essential that all staff treat security on their mobiles and laptops in the same way as they would on office-based equipment. If organisations are issuing consumer designed devices to help employees work more efficiently and effectively, they must ensure that data protection policies are consistent across the company, regardless of the equipment used.

For further information, please visit Graeme’s public sector blog at:

publicsectorsecurity.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/mobility-picks-up-pace-with-gchq-announcement

Graeme Stewart is available to discuss smartphone security for public sector organisations in more detail at Infosecurity Europe, Earl’s Court, London, 19th – 21st April 2011. If you would be interested in arranging a meeting with Graeme at the show, or a phone briefing, please contact Fiona Halkerston or Lindsey Challis on 020 7401 7968 or by reply.

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