Staying Secure on Mobile Devices
Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever, especially as BYOD (bring your own device) continues to gain popularity. While the concept of mobile devices is to simplify communication, life, and work processes, staying secure on mobile devices has gotten more complex. Whether you’re using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other internet enabled device, the risks are essentially the same. And, when you consider all the additional variables such as inconsistent security practices and applications, and inadequate password management, it’s easy to see why mobile devices have become such an easy target for cyber criminals.
If you own a business or you are using your mobile device for work, staying secure is extremely important. Don’t let hackers get access to your important and confidential documents—stay safe on mobile devices. The following list of security tips can help to safeguard your mobile devices, reduce the risk of threat, and stop hackers in their tracks.
Create Policies and Procedures for Mobile Devices
Implementing a series of clear, concise, realistic policies and procedures, outlining the requirements and expectations of all employees, is essential to the security of your mobile workforce. The policy should include detailed instructions for the handling, and disposal of sensitive data, rules of behavior, and specifics with regards to minimal security requirements.
Wipe Your Cell Phone Clean
In the event your mobile device is compromised or stolen, remote wipe software enables you to erase all, or select data remotely, and render the device unusable. Regular backups of stored information to the cloud ensure your data remains secure and accessible.
Update Software Regularly
It’s not enough to simply have anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware programs installed on mobile devices— they require regular updating. Set your software to automatically update at regular intervals to stay protected.
Beef Up Passwords
Weak passwords are the number one security threat to mobile devices. All devices should be locked, and password protected, with passwords consisting of a minimum of 8 characters, containing at least one capital letter, one number, and one symbol. Use the keypad, or phone lock on smartphones, and refrain from using combinations such as a telephone number or birth date to unlock.
Use a VPN
Employees who are working out of the office, and looking to make a connection, may be tempted to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi offered at an increasingly large number of retail establishments. A safer option is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which allows for secure data transfer, even over a public network.
Turn It Off
Enable the Wi-Fi on your mobile device, only when needed. If left on, the device will continuously search for a connection, loudly announcing your MAC address as it goes, making it easy for thieves to track your movements. The same goes for your Bluetooth connection, which when open, or in discovery mode, makes your device visible to others, and vulnerable to malware or spyware.
Insist on Encryption
Require all mobile devices used to access your company information, to be encrypted. Mobile encryption software is the most effective means of security, requiring a remote key or password in order to unlock, or decrypt data.
Provide Ongoing Training And Education
Educate your employees on the dangers of opening suspicious emails, downloading applications from unverified sources, and connecting their devices to unsecured networks. Use real life scenarios as training tools, and prepare to show proof of training to limit company liability in the event of a security breach. Phishing scams are commonly used to gain access to remote networks, and employees should be educated on how to recognize an email of this type, and trained to avoid clicking on any links contained within an email, even if appears to have come from an internal source.