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INSIGHT: How organisations can benefit from public Wi-Fi securely

"Organisations can isolate and control business data and devices so that company data cannot be shared with unmanaged personal applications."

While organisations will be able to do business in more locations with Telstra’s 1,500 free Wi-Fi hotspots across Australia, in New Zealand, companies can still benefit from secure public Wi-Fi.

According to Gavin Coulthard, manager, engineering, Australia and New Zealand, Palo Alto Networks, it’s important to optimise mobile device security measures for hotspot connectivity to ensure company data is protected when employees use public Wi-Fi.

With National Consumer Fraud Week underway this week, SCAMwatch is asking both Kiwis and Australians to think about the importance of protecting their personal information, while the Office of Fair Trading is urging people to get smarter with their data.

"Traditional endpoint security measures may not adequately protect mobile devices against threats," Coulthard adds.

"Devices need to be secured before employees use public hotspots."

According to Palo Alto Networks, there are three ways organisations can optimise mobile device security for public Wi-Fi hotspots:

1. Manage the device:

Organisations should properly configure security settings appropriate for public Wi-Fi connectivity.

This lets the organisation safely deploy business applications and oversee device usage.

Enterprise-scale device management capabilities can also simplify deployment and set-up by applying configurations common to all users, such as email account setting.

2. Protect the device:

Organisations can use endpoint security, mobile threat prevention technologies and next-generation firewalls to consistently enforce network policies.

This prevents mobile devices from being compromised, and attackers from accessing the company’s data.

3. Control the data:

Data access and movement between applications should be controlled by the organisation. This can be achieved by enforcing precise policies that control network access to applications and data, particularly access to sensitive applications.

These policies help to block unwanted applications, and prevent devices connecting to command and control servers.

"Organisations can isolate and control business data and devices so that company data cannot be shared with unmanaged personal applications," Coulthard adds.

"This lets companies take advantage of free Wi-Fi without compromising on security."