February 13, 2020

Smartphones in Smart Spaces: Why Secure WiFi Isn’t Enough

4 minute read

Smartphones are ubiquitous in the workplace for good reason. They are important communication tools and productivity enhancers. They’re also the most common security vulnerability and compliance threat faced by enterprise organizations. The concerns around them are many and varied: they have cameras; recording devices; the ability to become out-of-network hotspots; and they can tether to laptops and computers in your buildings for data-exfiltration. 

Securing Offices for Smartphone Use

These concerns are only exacerbated by their ability to transmit on multiple frequencies simultaneously. So while an employee’s smartphone may be connected to your facility’s secure WiFi network, it can also be transmitting on other frequencies, which means that many organizations are facing a large vulnerability. 

Secure WiFi networks are important, but depending on your security requirements, they may not be enough to keep your buildings and data safe. In these cases, it is imperative that your security team has full situational awareness and visibility into all transmissions in your secure spaces including WiFi, cellular, and Bluetooth. And where possible, designate and monitor authorized and unauthorized devices functioning within the facilities. 

Traditionally, monitoring has been difficult because many device detection and location platforms can only show you smartphones that are transmitting via WiFi and Bluetooth, but this ignores a significant part of the picture in cellular detection. Also, it’s not enough to visualize a smartphone when it is first turned on, connects to a call, or when it is taken out of airplane mode. For accurate location intelligence, you need to be monitoring continuously for smartphones, updating their location in near real-time, and getting alerts when they enter restricted zones

Employees bringing smartphones into the office don’t necessarily have malicious intent or nefarious plans, but it is important to highlight the vulnerabilities that go hand in hand with having smartphones present in your workplace. Many people, likely including some of your employees, simply don’t understand how their phones transmit, and may not understand the inherent risks associated with bringing smartphones into no-phone zones or other secure spaces. 

With internal organizational education about the organization’s concerns and a comprehensive wireless device detection platform that gives you full visibility into the transmissions in your space, these risks can be mitigated to create a secure, compliant, corporate campus environment.


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Topic(s): Security

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