Unified communications has ushered in a new era of corporate productivity, driven by more flexible working environments in which employees can access networks and data from a wealth of locations, so long as they have Internet-connected devices. This does not only pertain to purely digital information usage and access, but also collaboration tools that fall under the UC umbrella, and businesses have reaped many benefits from embracing the new age of workforce management.
However, because digital communications technology is becoming so much more popular with the passing of each year, businesses must also understand that there are plenty of risks which must be mitigated as quickly as possible. One of the most common, yet overlooked, threats to corporate communications security and data integrity is the use of public Wi-Fi networks among employees, which is as popular as pizza shops in New York City.
What's the problem?
Chris Barraclough, writing for Recombu, recently explained that the evidence used to illuminate how careless a consumer can be when trying to access the Internet through a portable device is building, especially since one IT analyst conducted a test. According to the author, whenever a public Wi-Fi network is used by an individual, it is not all that difficult to break into the device and expose relatively sensitive information.
"Finn Steglich, an IT security consultant, set up a free Wi-Fi hotspot in Canary Wharf and Westminster and monitored traffic as random phone users hooked up to the network on the fly," Barraclough described. "With the hotspot connected to his laptop, Steglich was able to see all of the users' unencrypted data and was able to nick their usernames and passwords, giving him access to to their private accounts."
In a word, business owners who have a telecommuting program in place but do not manage security all that well should be feeling a slight shudder.
Now, while this might seem to be more in the realm of IT security, UC managers will also need to keep these types of matters close to their hearts. One of the primary goals of a telecommuting program is to deliver similar services and experiences to employees whether they are in the field or the office, and this means some communications systems might be at risk.
By working with a reliable provider of UC services and support, these challenges and many more can be overcome for stronger protection against breaches.