BYOD: McAfee recommends some best practices

By : |November 5, 2012 0

LAS VEGAS, US: The explosion in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) models has had a major impact on mobile security in business. Securing data without affecting users’ productivity requires a strategy that should meet compliance requirements of the organisation. Considering the needs of the industry, McAfee has designed a technology that is not just viable for every device, but futuristic too.

In an interaction with CIOL, Michael Sentonas, McAfee vice president and CTO, Asia Pacific, explains how an organisation can be a victim of cyber crimes and what are the best practices for enterprise security.

CIOL: What is the security trend as far as BYOD is concerned?
Michael: We are very much a customer driven organisation. We spend a lot of time with customers. Primarily our role is to understand their challenges and requirements. A lot of our products are driven by challenges faced by customers. We look at new ways to innovate and research to address those challenges.

In the context of India, one of the huge questions is around BYoD and mobility.

With some progressive companies encouraging BYOD, we need to think it from a different perspective. Security is a different dynamic field and McAfee has been building security for over 5-6 years. It is interesting that mobility has become such a hot topic in security. We will be focusing on it for a long time.

Our technology is processor intensive. A lot of research goes into it. We have a lot of footprint in battery usage and in processor usage. That is going well for us.

CIOL: Was Intel part of those initiatives because it involved processors?
Michael: No. We were already in the designing process when Intel came in. We started the journey much before. We were designing security programmes to leverage hardware that existed for years and working on minimising the impact on devices and end user experiences. That is critical in our product management.

Our designing technology is critically important. Intel is a leader in chip making. We want to see how to collaborate and bring security technology to the market. The combination of Intel’s hardware and McAfee’s security focus complete the computing platform.

CIOL: How different is McAfee strategy from others?
Michael: The technology we have in India allows us to safely connect the customer to the device. We have a unique authentication system with one-time password. It gives people the ability to manage applications without fearing security implications.

Our strategy is different from other vendors. We focus on securing the device so one can start to think on the content and enterprise application security. That is very important.

You can download million of apps but how do you know those apps are not scanning your data. We focus on security depending on what applications you use. We provide the user the ability to secure data. The most popular concepts in India is the Security Timer technology.

Our technology allows the user to have an alarm against theft. There are a number of benefits. If you lose your device, the information stored in our Security Container is encrypted and is secured. If someone finds your device, they can’t access the data.

The Secured Container helps download an app and have an email set up. It can be rolled out from mobile device technology. So the application allows the user to get applications recommended by McAfee. Also, it insists on having a strong password and if the device is lost, McAfee can remind us about locking the phone.

There are different technologies to protect your device. It can be Windows, Mac or Android. It requires just one port. What we want to do is to make it easier for customers. Security scanner running in device ensures every mail is secure.

App protection categorizes all apps and informs what information is shared and tells what apps do in real time. The person will know if the app has accessed the location, contacts or calender. This app connects to your personal data. We have full functionality to provide security to the device, to content and enterprise consumer application data.

CIOL: Do customers need to do away with the existing apps to install McAfee security app?
Michael: No. It is an additional offering that is liable to the IT administrator if he can allow the user to leverage a particular operating system. Our technology is easy to deploy. Depending on the device, there are different types of encryptions so that makes the system more efficient.

CIOL: What are the most dangerous types of attacks?
Michael: I get a lot of questions around what I call the stealth malware. I don’t want to call it as Advanced Processing Threats (APT). APT is a category that is growing rapidly. Many threats are typically categorised as APT, but in actuality they aren’t. It is important for me to use the terminology correctly and educate people.

Stealth malware has been around for many years but it is an area that will see a significant escalation with the increasing internet usage. The reason for that is if you install as an attacker you have the ability to circumvent a number of processors running on the operating system, that allows you to hide the attack from your operating system. The operating system doesn’t know the application is running. So there are examples of people, enterprises, consumers and governments who have had their machines hacked but the attack has gone unnoticed because it was a stealth malware.

What motivates the attacker is that it gives an opportunity to steal data to define actual codes and carry out financially motivated attacks. Even if you are fortunate to identify the attack, the risk is when you try to move that malware out, your system might be under threat. So, McAfee’s hardware security system gives the ability to provide protection before the operating system is booted.

We install a security agent which starts prior to the operating system so that we have the ability to analyse if there are malicious codes and stop them immediately.

CIOL: Explain some best practices the customers need to follow in terms of enterprise mobility
Michael: First, organisations should know what devices to allow under BYOD. One needs to analyse what access to information they will have and define their device policy. It is not about defining a policy to advocate any particular device.

I may be a progressive organisation allowing my staff to use their choice of device, but there has to be a security standard.

Next, consider the device security. So one needs do think as how to connect the user to the network with their choice of device. The device security also includes technology that provides anti-malware protection or content security.

Another best practice is to know what data and network you are comfortable with in allowing these devices to interact with your network.

Know what data you want the user to have access to, know what network you want to enable users to connect to and then set up a security system.

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