NIST Releases Draft Mobile Device Security Guidance for Corporately-Owned Personally-Enabled Devices

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) has issued draft mobile device security guidance to help organizations improve the security of corporately-owned personally-enabled (COPE) mobile devices and reduce the risk the devices pose to network security.

Mobile devices are now essential in modern business. They provide easy access to resources and data and allow employees to work more efficiently. Mobile devices are increasingly being used to perform everyday enterprise tasks, which means they are used to access, view, and transmit sensitive data.

The devices introduce new threats to the enterprise that do not exist for traditional IT devices such as desktop computers and mobile devices are subject to different types of attacks. A different approach is therefore required to ensure mobile devices are secured and risks are effectively managed.

Mobile devices are typically always on and always connected to the Internet and they are often used to access corporate networks remotely via untrusted networks. Malicious apps can be installed on devices that may be granted access to data. The devices are also small and portable, which increases the risk of loss or theft.

The new guidance – SP 1800-21 – explains the unique risks introduced by mobile devices and how those risks can be reduced to a low and acceptable through the use of privacy protections. By adopting a standards-based approach to mobile device security, and through the use of commercially available technology, organizations can address the privacy and security risks associated with mobile devices and greatly improve their security posture.

NCCoE created a reference architecture to illustrate how a variety of mobile security technologies can be integrated into an enterprise network along with recommended protections to implement to reduce the risk of the installation of malicious applications and personal and business data loss. The guidance also explains how to mitigate breaches when devices are compromised, lost, or stolen.

The guidance contains a series of How-to-Guides that contain step by step instructions for setup and configuration to allow security staff to quickly implement and test the new architecture in their own test environments.

NIST also included advice on reducing the cost of issuing COPE mobile devices through enterprise visibility models and suggests ways that system administrators can increase visibility into security incidents and set up automated alerts and notifications in the event that a device is compromised.

NIST is seeking comments on the new draft guidance until September 23, 2019.

The draft mobile device security guidance for COPE devices can be downloaded from NIST on this link.

Author: HIPAA Journal

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