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Step 5: Educate end users with targeted guides

Beyond corporate secrets, users' personal information -- so often stored in plain text on a PDA or phone -- is also at risk. Use this as the hook to get them interested in keeping it protected. Consider posting and promoting "now that you've bought your device" campaigns on the company intranet. For example, organizations can give users intranet-based tools or checklists for configuring their smartphones or PDAs setting up access to corporate information, or pairing their Bluetooth-enabled device to a headset or other peripheral. Along the way, walk users through the process of implementing whatever you've articulated in the security policy. For example, show them how to create a 10-digit password, since shorter passwords aren't very effective. (A four-digit password can be intercepted and cracked in less than a second.)

Also, it's important to caution users to never leave a device in discoverable mode, to deactivate Bluetooth when possible, and to never blindly hit the "accept" button when their device receives a file or electronic business card, since what they're accepting might be a virus or Trojan code.


 Home: Introduction
 Step 1: Learn the lingo
 Step 2: Disable devices
 Step 3: Authentication and encryption
 Step 4: Acceptable use
  Step 5: User education

Mathew Schwartz is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer based in Paris, France. He regularly contributes information security and corporate compliance stories to Enterprise Systems, Information Security magazine, and IT Compliance Now. His work also appears in numerous other publications, including the Times of London and Wired News. Other recent work includes a 235-page usability report on the world's top 10 intranets, coauthored for the Nielsen Norman Group. Corporate writing clients have included life-insurance firm SBLI, and Intel.
This was last published in May 2005

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