- A beachhead for propagation of malware across the enterprise. Malware could spread not only to mobile devices with a similar operating system, but to Windows and other platforms visible from the enterprise network attachment.
- A hidden back door to the enterprise: A mobile device with a high-speed LTE port on a public network, a Wi-Fi port on an enterprise network, and cached credentials are recipe ingredients that a bad actor can leverage to gain extended access to the enterprise.
The risks are growing. They can be costly, too: In the U.S. alone, the cost of lost business after a breach adds up to $3.86 million, according to data compiled by IBM. Further, according to Verizon’s report, 25% of breaches took months or longer to discover.
How can business owners and building operators reduce their risk? By keeping mobiles on a robust in-building cellular network while inside the enterprise premises and using app-based VPN connections to internal and cloud services.
By placing mobiles on in-building cellular networks in combination with app-based VPN -- as opposed to connecting directly to enterprise Wi-Fi -- you’re reducing the attack surface of the enterprise. Using app-based VPN means that the whole enterprise is not visible to the remote device, but just a select server.
An app-based VPN service can keep compromised mobile devices from spreading malware through the enterprise. The VPN creates a point-to-point encrypted path from the mobile device’s local app to the target business platform.
An additional advantage of app-based VPN is it leverages other intrusion detection and prevention services to potentially accelerate the discovery of the malware.
As enterprises evolve their mobile strategies to accommodate the surging number of mobile devices in use by their workforce, they are investing in a “Universal Wireless” strategy where mission-critical LTE coverage throughout the workplace is paired with Wi-Fi coverage. These LTE mobility investments, when combined with app-based VPN , enable Information Security teams to significantly reduce the risk that semi-managed mobiles or tablets present when attached to enterprise Wi-Fi.
Security isn’t the only benefit of a long-term investment in cellular improvements. A robust in-building LTE network can deliver other benefits, including:
Compatibility with “green” construction. Energy-efficient buildings built to LEED standards pose a challenge for connectivity. The outdoor cell signal weakens significantly when it passes through windows and walls. Bringing cellular connectivity indoors solves that problem.
Performance. Moving mobile devices from Wi-Fi onto LTE can significantly improve performance in environments with high bandwidth demands. Consider hospitals: Guests scrolling through their phones and patients streaming video from their beds are competing with medical professionals for bandwidth. Offloading clinical devices from the Wi-Fi network can enhance performance for these devices in patient care areas.
IT costs. When a company’s mobile devices are connected to enterprise Wi-Fi, as a replacement for LTE service, employees’ service requests can quickly overwhelm an IT department. All dropped calls, authentication problems, connection failures, and device performance issues become the responsibility of IT. Bringing the cellular network indoors reduces IT support costs. It also can result in significant savings in licensing costs, because connecting mobile devices to enterprise Wi-Fi often requires licenses not only for the Wi-Fi service, but also the enterprise firewall and or other operations systems that are licensed via the quantity of attached devices.