iPass find CEOs to be the greatest risk to enterprise security
iPass Inc. has announced the iPass Mobile Security Report 2017, the results of which reveal that 40 percent of organizations believe that C-level executives, including the CEO, are most at risk of being hacked when working outside of the office.
Cafés and coffee shops were ranked the number one high-risk venue by 42 percent of respondents, from a list also including airports (30 percent), hotels (16 percent), exhibition centers (7 percent) and airplanes (4 percent).
Compiling the responses of 500 organizations from the US, UK, Germany and France, the annual iPass Mobile Security Report provides an overview of how companies are dealing with the trade-off between security and the need to enable a mobile workforce. Indeed, the vast majority (93 percent) of respondents said they were concerned about the security challenges posed by a growing mobile workforce. Almost half (47 percent) said they were ‘very’ concerned, up from 36 percent in 2016. Furthermore, more than two thirds of organizations (68 percent) have chosen to ban employee use of free public Wi-Fi hotspots to some degree (compared to 62 percent in 2016), while 33 percent of organizations ban employee use at all times, up from 22 percent in 2016.
“The grim reality is that C-level executives are by far at the greatest risk of being hacked outside of the office. They are not your typical 9-5 office worker. They often work long hours, are rarely confined to the office, and have unrestricted access to the most sensitive company data imaginable. They represent a dangerous combination of being both highly valuable and highly available, therefore a prime target for any hacker,” said Raghu Konka, Vice President of Engineering at iPass.
“Cafés and coffee shops are everywhere and offer both convenience and comfort for mobile workers, who flock to these venues for the free high speed internet as much as for the coffee. However, cafés invariably have lax security standards, meaning that anyone using these networks will be potentially vulnerable.”
Man-in-the-middle attacks, whereby an attacker can secretly relay and even alter communications without the mobile user knowing, were identified by 69 percent of organizations as being of concern when their employees use public Wi-Fi. However, more than half of respondents also chose a lack of encryption (63 percent), unpatched operating systems (55 percent), and hotspot spoofing (58 percent) as chief concerns.
Highlights from the report and regional trends include:
- The US. (98 percent) is most concerned by the increasing number of mobile security challenges – compared to France (88 percent), Germany (89 percent) and the UK. (92 percent)
- Nearly one in ten UK organisations (8 percent) said that they have no security concerns when employees use public Wi-Fi hotspots. In contrast, this figure is one percent in the US. and Germany, and two percent in France
- Similarly, UK. organisations are the least likely to ban the use of public Wi-Fi. 44 percent said that they have no plans to do so, as opposed to eight percent in Germany, 10 percent in the US. and 15 percent in France
- Worldwide, 75 percent of enterprises still allow or encourage the use of MiFi devices. In France, however, 29 percent of businesses have banned them due to security concerns
“Organizations are more aware of the mobile security threat than ever, but they still struggle to find the balance between security and productivity,” continued Konka. “While businesses understand that free public Wi-Fi hotspots can empower employees to do their job and be more productive, they are also fearful of the potential security threat. Man-in-the-middle attacks were identified as the primary threat, but the entire mobile attack surface is getting larger. Organizations must recognize this fact and do their best to ensure that their mobile workers are securely connected.”
“Sadly, in response to this growing threat, the majority of organizations are choosing to ban first and think later. They ignore the fact that, in an increasingly mobile world, there are actually far more opportunities than threats. Rather than give in to security threats and enforce bans that can be detrimental or even unenforceable, businesses must instead ensure that their mobile workers have the tools to get online and work securely at all times.”
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.