Mobile devices have made it easier and easier to get work done while on the go. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are a simple way to share and review documents, stay in touch with employees, and more while on the road.
However, that doesn’t mean they are free of risk.
It’s no surprise that mobile devices are continuing to become a central and necessary part of the business world. What might be surprising is how unprepared some businesses are for that reality.
No matter what kind of cybersecurity you have in place at the office, it won’t extend to the mobile devices that have access to your data.
This is a critical limitation of your cybersecurity software, and it’s obvious when you think about it – if your firewall is only installed on your work devices, but you let employees use personal devices and home workstations to access business data, then obviously you won’t be totally secure.
Consider these 4 mobile-centric factors that contribute to poor cybersecurity:
Furthermore, above-board apps that ask permission to access information stored on the device such as contacts can inadvertently lead to that information being used for unintended purposes. The app itself isn’t causing any harm, but it’s access to your device potentially could.
Virtual Private Network
One of the most proven techniques to make sure your data is safe is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which will give you back control over how you’re identified online.
A VPN creates a secure tunnel for your data to transit the Internet, using a network of private servers.
When you use a VPN, your data is encrypted, or hidden, as it moves from your device to the VPN and then continues onto the Internet through what’s called an exit node. A VPN creates the appearance that your data is coming from the VPN server, not from your device.
That makes it harder for an attacker to identify you as the source of the data – no matter whether you’re on your mobile device’s data connection, or using an unsecured retail Wi-Fi network while you’re in line for coffee. Even if attackers can intercept your data, the encryption means the attackers can’t understand your data or use it to their advantage.
When you put your data out to the VPN server, it exits back out to the public internet. If the site you’re visiting has HTTPS to keep the connection safe, you are still secure.
Find My Phone
Whether you left your phone on the train, or suspect it was stolen intentionally, Find My Phone is the app you need.
These types of apps allow you to remotely turn on your phone’s GPS to determine where it is. Furthermore, some of the more security-focused versions of these apps allow you to execute additional actions in order to eliminate security risks”.
The right monitoring software for mobile devices will protect you from a number of dangerous scenarios, including:
These programs store all of your passwords in one place, which is sometimes called a vault. Some programs can even make strong passwords for you and keep track of them all in one location, so then the only password or passphrase you have to remember is the one for your vault.
The downside of using a password keeper program is if an attacker cracks your vault password, then he or she knows all of your passwords for all of your accounts.
Multi-Factor Authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to the existing system and account logins. 45% of polled businesses began using MFA in 2018, compared to 25% the year prior.
By requiring a second piece of information like a randomly-generated numerical code sent by text message, you’re better able to make sure that the person using your employee’s login credentials is actually who they say they are.
Biometrics like fingerprints, voice, or even iris scans are also options, as are physical objects like keycards.
Maintaining mobile security isn’t just about having the right apps – it means following the right protocols, to eliminate unknown variables and maintain security redundancies:
But all of these steps are secondary to…
The fact is that, no matter what security apps or best practices you follow, you’ll still be at risk if you’re giving your information away elsewhere.
With the amount of personal data that people put online today, it’s not as difficult for cybercriminals to impersonate you as you might think.
By mining your social media, your LinkedIn and your company website, it can be pretty easy for a hacker to figure out your email address and reset your password.
Or maybe instead they spoof your email address and use it to contact a subordinate or a business contact to gain further information and access to use against you.
You need to protect yourself as a matter of privacy, and with the right processes:
Train your staff!
Everyone on your staff should be educated on how best to use mobile devices to avoid costly security errors. Your safeguards can’t protect you or your clients if your staff doesn’t understand your policies and procedures, and lacks a basic grasp of security best practices.
Your entire team should be taught how to secure their devices, how to protect business data, what the risks are, and how to avoid common security mistakes.
Do you have a Mobile Device Management policy?
This type of comprehensive policy dictates how your employees can use their personal devices for work purposes, dictating which security apps should be installed, and what best practices need to be followed.
An effective MDM policy should also instill safe and secure practices for employees that use personal devices for business purposes. Key considerations include: