In recent years, the way we work has transformed. The rise of ever more powerful mobile devices has freed us from our desks. Our Internet-enabled smartphones and tablets allow us to remain constantly connected even while we are on the move. Sensing a business opportunity, carriers have responded by providing Wi-Fi hotspots for our convenience in public spaces everywhere – from coffee shops, restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and exhibition halls to trains, airports and even airplanes. Tempting as it may be to use them to reduce any idle time, public Wi-Fi hot spots are not without risks. There are over 100,000 unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Furthermore, employees often fail to follow best practices. It only takes one mistake for sensitive company data to be jeopardized. However, by deploying VPNs and following some simple guidelines it is possible for organizations to overcome these risks and ensure all employees are equipped to secure their mobile client connections.
Mobile banking apps are set to revolutionize how we bank. According to KPMG, the number of mobile banking users globally is forecast to double to 1.8 billion over the next four years. In the UK regulators have announced new rules to let customers access details of their entire finances through a single mobile phone app by 2018. In the US mobile banking industry, technology has yet to overcome fundamental trust issues but the idea is starting to take off among financial services consumers. The banks and financial institutions are working hard to make their mobile apps as secure as possible. User behavior meanwhile has some catching up to do. For example, connections to free and unsecured Wi-Fi are open and vulnerable to fraud. To reduce security risks, it’s a good idea to use a virtual private network (VPN). This is a tried and tested way to secure the connection and encrypt all data transferred between the mobile device and the bank.
Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, hotels, railway stations and airports have become a welcome resource for any business traveler, providing them with a convenient means to carry on working while on the move. Employers, in turn, are increasingly happy to embrace the accompanying productivity benefits. Over 80% of enterprises now allow employees to use personal devices to connect to corporate networks.
Yet public Wi-Fi has a dubious security reputation. Even with password protection, public hotspots are an open invitation for anyone with illicit intentions to snoop and intercept data communications to their heart’s content.