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Bill Roth, Ulitzer Editor-at-Large

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The Kindle Fire and Network Security: Great Tips From A Smart Guy

Yesterday was a big day for me. I am a huge Amazon Kindle fan. I wore my first one out, and I have a close personal relationship with my Kindle 3. So, when I heard Amazon was going to announce new Kindles, I got that tingle of excitement running up my spine. (OK, I don’t get out much.)

As I started reading the reviews of the Kindle Fire, the new full-media color model, I saw a great article at InformationWeek from a name I recognized. Michael Davis, the CEO of one of our best resellers, Savid Technologies, talking about the security implications of this announcement, and he made me realize the challenge this posed to IT Security in the enterprise.

On Nov. 16 (the day after the first preorders land on doorsteps nationwide) you will have people walking into the office with their new Kindle Fires and hopping onto the company Wi-Fi to show off the sleek-looking tablet to envious peers. And to be fair to the Fire, this problem is applicable to any new consumer device, be it a smartphone, tablet or netbook.

So how do you secure these zero-day devices, and/or prevent them from accessing the network…?

Davis makes a point that I have also heard from my friend John Kindervag at Forrester(another smart guy), who coined the term “Zero Trust Architecture”:

Finally, and in my opinion, most important, get your priorities straight. Just let them on and realize that your network is public, but your systems are private. In other words, don't try to prevent the connection to the network, prevent access to the resource, such as the file server or email.

John’s paper on Zero Trust Architecture can be found here, though you will need a login. By the way Davis also write a great book on computer security called Hacking Exposed: Malware & Rootkits. It’s a good read.

The fact of the matter, is that these emerging devices will show up on your network, and you’d better be ready for it.

What better way to do this than to log all devices and activity on your network?

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Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.